How Bourbon Says Goodbye

February 1, 2001

How Bourbon Says Goodbye - Poetry of the Times

Her paintings flower the island
like self-seeded Snow-in-Summer:
on restaurant walls sick with cigarette
smoke and jaundiced photos,
holding court in the reborn hotel
like confederate dandies dressed
electric green and cobalt blue.We wander past purple lupine
spired in late June cathedrals,
past the marsh and crushed rock,
back to her battered house,
and wonder why her paintings don't hang
on the peeled clapboards.
Cross-legged on a dusty sofa,
she talks the way a southern novel reads,
delighting with tales of doctors and clinics,
how she will miss brush and canvas,
her church, the island intrigue.
And she describes her shaking hands
the day she buried her pills
in a plastic bottle, hearing them fall
quiet as sunset.
An afternoon passes with stories
of summer's long leaving, and at the end,
drawling her laugh, she pours bourbon on ice
in old crystal etched with rugosa rose.
Mist clouds each glass, the cold
amber spirit burning down our throats.

© CME LLC
2/01

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