11:1: “Vintage”, by N. Marin

11:1: “Vintage”, by N. Marin

My dearest friend keeps bits of soul
corked in old wine bottles above his bookcase.
Like a sommelier, he can describe the different habits of every person bottled
there:
that one was lost and that one, mean.

Mind, he doesn’t broadcast that he keeps a soul cellar.
Barely talks about it at all, in fact,
until we’ve both downed quick tots of scotch
while sprawled in quiet camaraderie
like cats lying out in the afternoon sun.
“We’ve got the same soul,” he’ll say,
dropping a maybe in there somewhere along the line;
then he goes on to imply that we’re two parts of an old story
in which some sorcerer snatched after immortality and lost his grip.
(I have never understood the allure of this pursuit).
He got smote down for hubris;
rather, his soul got shattered,
scattered like cargo from a sinking ship,
every bit on its own voyage through the same worldly seas.
There’ll be no getting back on course for him
until all his pieces are back together.

Shotglass crowned by fingertips,
my friend asks me not to eat his soul.
Laughing, I make him promise me the same.
I’m a skeptic
and I don’t believe in soul cellars
although disbelief becomes stretched thin sometimes
when his and my thoughts reflect like mirrors
and we stopper identical phrases with uneasy smiles
then sit with the same shoulder cocked back,
our fingers snug around our cups
and leery of the bottle.


N. Marin lives in the city with a cat who deserves a Bond villain to perch on. Alas, the cat must make due with a less nefarious sort of lap. A previous poem has been published in Goblin Fruit and other work is afoot. He says:

My recent writing explores friendship and family in a speculative sense. What binds us together? How do our associations reflect on us? This poem is a facet of that exploration.


Image is by Steffen Hausmann [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.



One Response to “11:1: “Vintage”, by N. Marin”

  1. I love it. It pushes all the right buttons, of course (my personal right buttons, that is: old, musty, yet warm and cozy, mythological yet personal).

    I really love how what could be a long string of descriptions of souls is ‘abridged’ to
    > that one was lost and that one, mean.
    such an expressive omission (whether it was intended as an omission or not, of course).

    I’m a little bit disturbed by the end, because it seems that the fingers are the ones leery of the bottle; though that’s an interesting disturbance (fingers eerily personified leering and snugging of their own accord).

    Beautiful all in all, and a beautiful G. R. R. Martinesque in proportion?) intensity of magical presence.

    Compliments,
    yorick’s bones

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