John F. McCullagh
(It Was) A Very Good Year.
My minds image of my Ellen
Is like a rose preserved from time.
Or like a treasured bottle
from a vintage year for wine.
I am haunted by her memory-
How our fingers intertwined.
The fragrance of her body
as I held it close to mine.
I was Mars and you were Venus
your head rested on my chest.
A summer rain began to fall
persuading us to dress.
Now just the shadow of your smile
Brings tears to a dry place.
Funny how my heart can race
Within the ghost of your embrace.
You are unchanging, therefore perfect
Your aspect is divine.
I believe our year was vintage-
for love, if not for wine.
(Fifth poem in the Ellen cycle, A summer picnic at Planting Fields, Arboretum in 1979. It was a picnic, marked by a brief rain, where we shared a bottle of Mouton Rothschild)
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