A Little Wine with Lunch

by John Poch

A song for the grapes of the island,
Biancolella and Falanghina
(songs in and of themselves),
is a song of forgetting the heavy
May rains well past and praise
now the constant sun of June,
the steady daylight uninterrupted
except for the occasional seagull
shadow. The climbing vines rejoice
all month, staked up with ten foot cane
that grows from the roadside ditches
in a patchwork of quarter acre plots
between the houses, below the houses
on terraces, as you wend your way
up the narrow, broken roads of the island.
More and more their green sails open
to catch the early morning mists
where the clusters fatten like bellies
of the beached old men from Naples.

The sun is blurred by the ocean mist,
hazy as the waxy fog on the grapes.
And minerals from the volcanic soil
are good for the heart and blood of the grape
and the tongue of the man drinking it.
I have a question for the god of the cute
little fennel wand disappearing into
and the flavoring the cheek of the rabbit:
Does not the volcano under the island
somehow give the wine just a little fizz?

Don’t mis-over-underestimate that we
have always wanted a wine for lunch.
In the same way you’ll save
the red dress for tonight,
for now, wear the white.

JOHN POCH’s fifth book, Texases, was published last year by WordFarm.  His poems have appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, and other magazines. He teaches at Texas Tech University. You can find him on Twitter at @jpoch