Marilyn McCabe: In Vino Veritas


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
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


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,
in our slow

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