Likely Red Press

Dionysus Promised to Let You Have Another Glass by Chloe N. Clark

“The man I loved most in the world had a long neck, sharp clavicle, I liked to kiss the hollow of his throat. Once he made my whole body want to call out his name.”

Dionysus Promised to Let You Have Another Glass

There’s a shop in the center
of town that only sells old
wine bottles. All different
colors and shapes. All long
since emptied of their keep.
I go there once, trail
my fingers along dusty
shelves and try to think of who
might come in here, how it stays
in business. The owner tells me
to pick a bottle, any bottle, and so
I do. Light blue and long necked,
I hold it up to the light and stare through.
Open it, the owner says, and so I do. I’ve
always been one on which imperatives work
wonders. Cork in one hand, bottle in
the other, I pull.

The man I loved most in the world had a long neck, sharp clavicle, I liked to kiss the hollow of his throat. Once he made my whole body want to call out his name. The arch of my back, the ache, a shiver underneath my skin, my pulse beating in every inch of my skin, and—

I slip the cork back in, try to slow
my breath. The room comes back
to focus, the dust on my skin itches
and my heartbeat sounds far away
The owner asks if I want
to buy, keep the bottle always. I shake
my head, place it back on shelf,
stumble out into the street. I wonder
what the bottle once held, what drink, how
cool it might have felt in my mouth, slipping
down my throat. Or maybe it would
have burned.

 *

Chloe N. Clark’s poems and fiction appear in Apex, Future Fire, Little Fiction, Uncanny, and more. She is co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph, writes for Nerds of a Feather, and teaches at Iowa State University. Her debut chapbook, The Science of Unvanishing Objects, is out from Finishing Line Press and she can be found on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes.