Why Scold the Blackbird when Pinked

And she wears merlot
on her lips. It’s no slur
to say it out loud. Not a slip

of the tongue
down the throat.
A little too bright, too

hot for her aging face.
And the boundary between
mouth and oxbow lake has become

so blurred.

And there’s no vineyard
on the Vineyard anymore.
And the wine is

neither new
nor old. It plays both sides
of the social construct

when drunken corpses
pass out beneath bur oaks
on banks

of sleepy winding rivers
on humid summer afternoons
in upper valleys.

And a tongue in cheek
reviver will soon flow
into shakers from a steep

waterfall. And it could be
dancing green fairies
released from an absinthe bottle

cause her to hallucinate
her way into a prairie roof
raising before collapsing.

A stampede of pink
elephants making
a mess of the meadow. Or,

it could be the microdot
she swallows while sitting
on a window ledge

on the fourth floor
of a coed dorm
on a perfect early September

day last century (years
before Teenage Fanclub recorded
“It’s All in My Mind”).

Beware those mornings most

this millennium. Or,
it could be she is not breathless
in the presence

of such an evocative mist,
but merely choking on smog
that stagnant air won’t release

for weeks. Or, it doesn’t matter
at all—the natural color
of her lips, more matte dusty rose

than polished ruby, is enough.

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