Wednesday, March 2, 2022


Just the right amount is poured
into the long-stemmed glass
so that the cabernet sauvignon

can breathe, the bouquet preserved.
My mind is on the palate
after the first sip of black cherry,

the green pepper and vanilla spice.
The grape has fulfilled its promise
from vineyard vine to custodial cask.

After the second sip my eye wanders
to the Degas mounted on the wall,
and I decide that it represents clarity and truth

despite the dizzy white brushstrokes
that created the spinning ballet class.
It is after the third sip that the arteries dilate

and my heart begins to reliably relax
into a philosopher’s quest for whatever
philosophers seek to extrapolate

from postulates about chickens and eggs
and angels jitterbugging on a pin.
I decide to investigate.

In another painting, lovers kissing
in the foreground are almost an afterthought.
Telephone lines 
and streets

converge to a vanishing point,
a focal slide of perspective,
a vintage vortex and invitation

minus the cursive and vellum.
But my mind, try as it might,
cannot penetrate the infinitude

of this black hole hanging
on the far side of the oak-paneled room.
So I tilt my head back

and think of this one unalterable truth
that cannot be deduced from theorems
or dialectics or even the rattle

of a shaman’s beads around a midnight fire:
some kisses are indeed sweeter than wine.

~William Hammett

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