Marilyn McCabe: In Vino Veritas

I.

Sacred as a blessing, profane
as a drunk; we always
break the glass:

Just as the pulp slips
from the skin so the ferment
bares something in us. Opens
us, a cave

mouth. Angels
stream in as the whistle
of wind through mallards’
coasting wings; or demons

issue out in gaping
voiceless howl, depending
on the hour we drink: how
late the night, how dark.

Those sugars, the tannins,
the diacetyl acid and fruit; or
is it the process, slow
precipitation
that gathers truth like rain:

Is that why wine takes
away my words, settles
them gently like mud?
Truth is gloomy like that,
and best said in
nothing. Or

I have not drunk
enough.

II.

This mercy falls
far short of holy,
though it’s all
we, earth-
bound, can hope for:
dirt and vine,
sun and time
ferments something
odd and wilder than
that from which it was born.
We are all
squeezed from our
ruddy skins,
revealed
in our slow
translucence.



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