1983 Chardonnay

 

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34

43

i

last night you returned the polo t-shirt you’d borrowed on sunday afternoon. you said you were sorry for not having washed it. i said nothing as i set it

beside my knee and gave you a glass of ’83 chardonnay. and a pear from courtland. and brie.

 

ii

you read me a poem you’d been working on and showed me a picture elizabeth had done, me in the garden with my donna karan hat. and then, like the cruelest magic, you rinsed out your dishes. and were gone.

 

iii

i love this wine, for it

reminds me a lot of

 

you, like the g major

prelude for cello,

 

or the very first rain

in autumn. it has

 

that kind of nose. yes.

 

so i didn’t get up to turn on

the lights when you left.

 

and let the evening seep in
through the windows and

 

the doors, closing in around
me like your arms, those soft,

 

gentle arms that’ve never

touched my skin, that

 

never seem to notice that

i am here.
 

iv

when i went down to the

basement to wash the

 

shirt, i put it on instead and

ran to my bed in terror —

 

afraid that you could see me,

afraid that you’d be angry.
 
for i could smell you lying

next to me, inside of me,

 

and your skin, your face, that

fragile smile.

 

and i could feel you drifting

through me, carefully,

 

quietly, like an ancient

warrior on the eve of

 

battle, like the fog-shrouded
capay valley mountains
 
in spring, or point reyes beach
at winter daybreak,
 
at the purest, purest dawn.