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Vintner

                                    Janice N. Harrington


Come spring, the woody coils will spur,
and wedge-shaped leaves will quilt
their greening into All Hands Round,
Drunkard’s Path, and Child’s Pinwheel.

The unambitious flower will fatten
into berry, swelling beneath a belligerent
heat until, rain-gorged and heat-riven,
it bursts. Yet he will not gather
the ripened fruit, the man who pushed
the rootstock into hard sod.

He will not suck the fleshy pulp nor spew
from pursed lips the bitter pip. He is gone,
the man who grew these grapes.
The yellow caution tape wrapped against
intrusion is taken away. The body removed.
He made little mess: only a single report,
disturbing no one. The red wing poised

upon the trellis flew on, and the dew
slipped down the purpled orb, unremarked.


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