Poems

Rotgut

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor
the moon by night. Psalm 121

On a hillside scattered with temples broken
under the dogday sun, my friend and I drank
local wine at nightfall and ate grapeleaves
in goat-yogurt glaze. The living grape vines
bore fruit overhead. Beyond our balcony,
beyond the Turkish rooftops, an old moon
touched Venus at one tip. This vintage,
he said, would melt pig iron. But I wondered,
were we drunk enough, and he said no. I took him,
staggering and laughing, in my arms, and soon,
with snow at nightfall easing off,
another old moon slid into the hill
behind my dead friend's house. He loved
that smear of light cast back on it from earth.



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