In the Climate Controlled Premium Wine Room, You Surprise Me by Knocking Something Over Before I Do

In the Climate-Controlled Premium Wine Room, You Surprise Me by
Knocking Something Over Before I Do

by Elizabeth Langemak

Three feet behind, and still when the bottles
poured out of their racks I thought it was I
who had knocked them: my elbow the swing,
my hand the clumsy offer. Fat geese

in dive-bomb, they flocked your arms
in wedge formation, vee-d to your touch
though you’d only touched one. Like pins
blown down and around in a strike, the sound

was clatter-precise: not bump nor shatter,
but each a particular submarine ping, twenty
eggplant bodies sounding the centers
of neighboring craft. Chaos, and the layered

hand-clap smack of girls on playgrounds.
From where I stood, I saw your hands
conscripting your arms then your thighs,
your chest barreling up like an unset table

against the rack. I heard the sound of leaving
become the sound of finding as each neck
and punt rattled free and sought the floor
and when I reached in to help I felt each bottle

swing through my grasp as the waterless falls
poured dryly down. And pooled. By your hand,
by mine: no matter. We’d heard that sound
before. At the end only one break, the lopsided

loll of twenty in its crimson pond, and the clerk
shooing us out of the cooled room with her mop,
saying the sound had nudged her from the register
and she’d known exactly what it was.

refers from “I stick my hands in. I could hold it” in Larissa Dickey’s poem 3, From Catalog of Utilities.

  1. Richard Allen Taylor

    This is brilliant. Who could have known so many great ways to describe bottles of wine falling? Pacing and sound are delightful.

  2. So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Jeanette Gallagher

    Brilliant! I felt as if I were there and was relieved when only one was broken.

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