The blood colored-liquid that looks like the deep purple
That paints the skin of the plums in the fruit bowl
When it’s seen through the semi-transparent
Dark green bottles shaped like romance
My red friend hides in plain sight in the alcove next to the sink.
The yellow rose sister dances delicate and pale
Fair of complexion with a song sweet and light
Intending only upon a brief decorous courtship
Filling the frosted, swan-necked bottle
My white friend rests in the bottom shelf of the fridge.
The tall, imperial, masculine bottles that caress
The water that burns like hot coals
Whose labels whisper foreign names that taste
Like olives and salt and ice
My immediate friends reign as kings in the basement closet under the stairs.
The dark, short and stout bottles
Hold the amber that embodies the gentlemen
With their armchairs and cigars and philosophy
Ice cubes clinking in the smoke filled room
My favorite friends sit on the shelf below, quiet and brooding and welcoming.
The Poland Spring bottles, empty of their original guests
Now carry the taint, the stink of the liquid
That all at once repulses and yet pulls one in
Like an old and loving friend
Burning familiar and sweet on the way down.
These friends lie hidden in the trunks of high school cars
The hands of party-goers
The back of the senior parking lot
The picnic tables behind the Town Center
The bottom drawer of my mind.
Thousands of bottles still live on in my head
Though I’ve banned them from my fingers and tongue
Will they stay safely caged in my skull?
Or slide back into the real world to drown me
My memories pushing their way out like bile from my throat.
I panic at the thought of a return
To seeing only the bottoms of bottles
But I am quickly calmed by strong warm arms
And lips on mine- my saving grace
Against my vilely loving, devotedly stubborn friends.