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About this Poem 

"A friend and I were tasting Italian wines with an instructional DVD, trying to discern the usual—blackberries, tobacco, etc.—which led to some outrageous comparisons, and eventually to the more serious ones in the poem. I wanted to talk about a famous drinker, too, and eighty-sixed Hemingway in favor of Li Po, who showed me the moon."
—Kim Addonizio

Wine Tasting

Kim Addonizio, 1954

I think I detect cracked leather.
I’m pretty sure I smell the cherries
from a Shirley Temple my father bought me

in 1959, in a bar in Orlando, Florida,
and the chlorine from my mother’s bathing cap.
And last winter’s kisses, like salt on black ice,

like the moon slung away from the earth.
When Li Po drank wine, the moon dove
in the river, and he staggered after.

Probably he tasted laughter.
When my friend Susan drinks
she cries because she’s Irish

and childless. I’d like to taste,
one more time, the rain that arrived
one afternoon and fell just short

of where I stood, so I leaned my face in,
alive in both worlds at once,
knowing it would end and not caring.

Copyright © 2013 by Kim Addonizio. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 3, 2013. 

Copyright © 2013 by Kim Addonizio. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 3, 2013. 

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio's poetry collections include Lucifer at the Starlite (W. W. Norton, 2009); What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2004); and Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

by this poet

poem
In this shallow creek
they flop and writhe forward as the dead 
float back toward them. Oh, I know

what I should say: fierce burning in the body 
as her eggs burst free, milky cloud 
of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand

on the bridge with my camera, 
frame the white froth of rapids where one 
arcs up
poem
I want a red dress. 
I want it flimsy and cheap, 
I want it too tight, I want to wear it 
until someone tears it off me. 
I want it sleeveless and backless, 
this dress, so no one has to guess 
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store 
with all those keys glittering
poem
He'd left his belt. She
followed him and
threw it in the street.
Wine: kisses: snake: end

of their story. Be-
gin again, under-
stand what happened; de-
spite that battered

feeling, it will have been
worth it; better to
have etc…
(—not to have been born

at all— Schopenhauer.)
But, soft! Enter tears.