A. E. Stallings


There’s never enough of it. The bottle’s full,
The glass is to be filled. Call it a flute,
Call the effervescence joy or love
Or song. Demi-sec’s sweet, and extra brut
Is dry, the ratio of alcohol
To sugar posed as paradox: liquid drouth,
As rising sparkles have a downward pull
That brings the lip of crystal to the mouth.
Hold the stem: it bears a brittle flower,
Calyx of nectar, clear container of
What drains away, the bubble of the hour.
The satisfying heft’s deceptive: lift
The bottle by its throat and tilt it south,
Promise of plenty, though all pleasure’s swift
And evanescent, and no heart’s exempt, the
Vessel seeming heaviest when empty.