1996 Cabernet Sauvignon














he told me he left parts of
himself in


his poems, his photographs,
for poetry was an


act of dying, painfully,

the price of beauty


always an arm, a leg,

a finger or two.


some men, i suppose, do their
art like they go to war.


so they jump out of airplanes,
drink acidic wines,


send 20-mike-mike tracers

floating up into the


midnight sky until something
explodes, purple


and god-like, awful to behold.



my art, too is painful, hurtful
sometimes ,


brutal sometimes, unlike this
wine, so dark and


passionate, yet supple and kind.

oh, is cabernet a man?


is it a woman? who knows?
(who cares?)


still, i believe even gentle

memories can bump,


bruise against the mind.
and hurt me.



as i watch them leave each year, i know their memories must fade. no, they’ll not return at fifty with flowers and poems or dedicate books to me on physics, law or cooking mustard chicken. ms. madeline giboin’s kindergarten class of 1996. it was a truly vintage year.


i, who taught them how to raise their hands, write their names, look for thumbkin, laugh at george and martha: one fine day, splatter paint, count to a hundred and lie in the bright spring grass, waiting for the sun to turn them into pumpkins.



yes, i can see their faces,
crowding around me,


tugging, pulling at my

sleeves, until i


sit down with them, and

sing to them and


hold them in my arms, and

love, love them.


and then, on a warm june day,
they line up, laughing,


at the door. and are gone.



i do know what it’s like to have parts of my body scattered across the universe, to send twenty-five cartons of lowfat milk flying low over the horizon into a pale orange sun — but soft, softly. (oh, my dear!)



so tell him i have known

the frail loneliness


of pinot noir. and the soft

brooding elegance


of cabernet. tell him that

one little elephant


went out to play, out on a

spider’s web one day.


tell him i can still see

their faces,


i can name each one.

tell him — well —


tell him, i love him.