Here’s a poem from Paper Nautilus 2011, by Colleen Michaels. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review, Blue Collar Review, The Mom Egg, and Literary Mama; She has received honorable mention in the 2011 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. She directs the Writing Center at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts where she hosts The Improbable Places Poetry Tour.

Bowing to Vines Out of Season

The couple drove in their quiet car
past the vineyards along route 5
avoiding the view
of the over-burdened fruit.
The full, heavy juices
a belly pulled tight by sweetness.

If they had to, and sometimes they did,
they thought only of the vines
never the wine the harvest might become.
They paid respect to the tenderness of that purple skin,
heeded the reports of early frost.

But every September they couldn’t help
but drink in the short season when the scent
hung low over pavement and parking lots
and perfumed the ordinary, easing the
memory and salving the rough hands of Dunkirk
women who have knelt to tie-off vines.

They knew the persistent knots, not the grapes,
as the ones who would endure, hang tough,
bend around and bow to the harsh lake effects.
yield and then curve
to accommodate the road.

Vines established, but slouched,
like the temporary indentation
a child might leave while lingering
against a chain link fence.

Colleen Michaels’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review, Blue Collar Review, The Mom Egg, and Literary Mama; She has received honorable mention in the 2011 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. She directs the Writing Center at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts where she hosts The Improbable Places Poetry Tour.

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2 Responses to “Bowing to vines out of season”

  1. Ashlie Allen said

    Very beautiful piece of poetry.

  2. A wonderful poem. I was right there with them in the car. I have been thru beautiful vineyards and have been reminded of the perfume that they had. Thank you for the ride and memories it bought out..

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