Permanent Stains

By Eileen Malone

She puts out bowl of anchovies
hunk of salami, round of cheese
a loaf of sour-dough bread
on the picnic table under the oak tree
behind the house

don’t worry she tells him 
when he spills the wine
on the linen tablecloth she insists on using
look how it’s brocaded with oil
here vinegar, already there red sauce
maybe blood, talk to me, pour more

the limpid sun of wine sinks 
into the ruby-purple west 
of the stemmed glass she clinks with his
yes, my love, I promise I will bury you here
in this vineyard where of course
for as long as I’m alive
you will hear the stamping of my feet
in the wine presses

stop apologizing for being old, clumsy
for spilling precious fruit of blessed vine
chosen, picked by you, wine made
with your mind, your words
you are entitled a little spill

she plucks a berry
from the white enamel dishpan
where blackberries and strawberries
mounded scarlet and black purple
clarify, wait to be hulled
in a multi-berried amaze

she smashes it on the tablecloth
a stain purple as eggplant skin spreads
itself out, she laughs, hooks a bit of flesh
with her finger, spreads it on her mouth
leans forward, kisses him

always, this taste of what we harvest
together, she says licking her lips
these beautiful, permanent stains
enough of which
there is never.
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About Eileen Malone

Eileen Malone's poetry has been published in over 400 literary journals and anthologies, a significant number of which have earned prizes and awards; e.g., last year two poems were nominated for Pushcarts. She is the author of the chapbook Letters with Taloned Claws and the nonfiction book The Complete Guide to Writers Groups, Conferences, and Workshops. She is the founder and director of the Soul-Making Literary Competition.

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