American Beauty

                                                     American Beauty                                                Tom Goff 

Once I thought rosé
was made of the new petals
at the core of a rose.

So each young flower
would bow until the weight of light rain
broke its long stem.

These heads of rose
might shed their pink leaves,

fall into tumbrils lined with tufts of grass,

then ride on, stems this way,
strews of petals that way,
towards the heavy winepress.

Or perhaps whole roses would go,
thorns unshorn,
one stalk at a time
through the crush and
into the sieves.

One twist of rose, one racking turn,
and liquid scent
would run
into a ready glass:

wetness wrung from one cupped stem
into another.

Years have passed, yet when I drink rosé
I still imagine such process,
envision you, too,
in the way fresh rosebuds
once bowed in a garden,

pliant in the wet and wind.

Now, your past lives are
faded perfumes, forgotten flavors.
You bow to sample
the new moment,

observed unawares from
behind a vase of roses
elsewhere in the room.
Facing a more favored guest
across a red tablecloth,
you point a rosé,
corkless bottletop
directly at him,

you bend all your body
into the pour, every last curve into
the pour, eyes and keen smile
straining into his glass.

Your skin breathes a fine new blush.

I look away quickly.

The leap of blood to the white skin
is easier to savor than rosé,

though the taste of the wine
in my own glass hones
a fresh edge upon the tongue,

sharp as ripe thorns
that run into the finger at play
upon the uncut branch.

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