Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
April 2021
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Friday, 27. September 2002

For a Glass of Red Wine - Al Maginnes

I want to reach over and move you
so your smoky odor of crushed grape
cannot drift around me, but
I cannot stop watching the smear
of candlelight reflected on your ruby belly,
bright as the hourglass marking
the black widow I killed in my toolshed
this summer. Once I loved
your mystery uncoiling on my tongue,
the dark and gleaming veins you opened there.
And I loved your earthy cousin, beer, the one
who bears the brassy accent of wheatfields,
and your sullen friends bourbon, scotch, and rum
who might end the party singing
sad Irish songs or smashing furniture
and beating the host. But what
I loved, finally, was the blackness you brought,
the stars dying one by one. I kissed you good-bye
long ago. Still, when I see mouths purse
with meeting you, see the dim coal
of an eye suddenly waken, I recall
your first kindlings, blood-glow
I could believe for the length of your burning

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