Who Finishes the Sentence

Will drink the new wine. The only conversation
I’ll have this weekend
is with you. If
erythrophobia was fatal, you would have been

a serial killer. Or was it just me?
Not yet vintage, I wanted to be
your only victim. A true enough
kiss to taste the tobacco

before it became my own. I long
to be the person again
who comes along
to stir yours. Though I can’t lick

your ghostly replies, the scent is rich
in pre-fall burning. Hold the leaves.

Caryatid’s Offering

Suffering gratitude is a burden
she will carry from the well
to the fire in a vessel
upon her shoulders—
understanding spilling
like new wine speaking

in tongues to the warmed earth.
She endures the gift exchange
of her clan, a ruby-colored cloth
passed between women till one declares
it will be torn
into a deck of cards 

made of erotic fiber.
Small swatches for young men
to pick from, each choosing
randomly until one last piece
is left for the one who has waited
to learn love 

with the woman who witnesses
an exquisite act of destruction
in every gift there is.