Cognac Poem By Michael Waters

Cognac Poem By Michael Waters

Each summer I would coddle a bottle of cognac
like a birth-blind calico,
then wedge it behind the cabinet’s highball glasses
rather than among the stumped
veterans of mash, clear church bells of Finnish vodkas
and swan-necked, elegant slips
of sage and flame liqueurs, so that, reunion over,
we might retrieve it alone,
the two of us, and sip blunt amber that sandpapered
our throats into intimate
speech. We slumped, string-snipped marionettes,
onto chintzy
cushions, heads humped together,
to resume dissection of longtime spouses, elsewhere
asleep despite suspicions,
our feral children, and the longing glimpsed in simple
gestures of close friends even
as they’d sponged glasses or rearranged half-drained
bottles.
Our bottle squatted, muffled
telephone, genie-less lamp, allowing dialogue
its course—our voices bearing
their sad, sexual embassies, their torqued pleasures,
their
“mystic current of meaning.”
Each summer our too-brief encounter—solstice
weekend—
distilled itself into mulled
smoke, brassy phosphor, cognac we prodded
toward dawn till
the stories had been consumed,
their light absorbed in slow, deliberate sips toward
depths,
cross-channeling foreverforeign flesh, our bodies drifting inexorably
toward final rigidity
as we’d kiss, almost chaste, then sleep, tongues
swollen with false
fire, annual ritual,
cognac seeping into dreams, into the bearable
future still flush with desire.

Michael Waters
first published in Chelsea 67

Cognac Poem By Michael Waters

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