At the wine tasting that week
the shop owner uncorked sherry

tipped it in shining sips
into our eager glasses.
The bouquet: dried flowers
of fertile spring, the whiff
that whips from confectioner’s
window, earthen liquor tang
sitting quietly beneath.

You could keep it on your tongue
and try to guess: caramel,
butterscotch, polished maple wood?
It changed on its way
down the throat, wafted up
in the nostrils scented
like childhood Christmas
cookie plate and the late
night after the bar closed

and at last you held
the one you wanted.

My lover didn’t hesitate,
did not blink at the price,
emptied his pockets

and we drifted down
the sherry’s sweet stream
all that week of candied nights.

He’s just that way. He’s a
lick-the-plate-clean man,
yes-I-deserve-this-sweet man.

I’d peek into the pantry
and not see a thing. Settle
for white rice and lentils.
But he sees bounty: shifts
the boxes and digs
into back cabinet corner

shuffles and hums and invents
Indian curry or Italian
tomato-rich feast.

The way he sings through life
says: yes, please, fill my plate.
No, it’s not too late.
See the day’s promise of plenty.
Taste the night’s caramel burn.

Mary Ann Honaker holds a B.A. in philosophy from West Virginia University and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She has previously published poetry in many online and print journals, including The Dudley Review, Euphony, Caveat Lector, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.