Crumbling an old cork

My father and I are sitting at a table, trying to enjoy

A left over Margaux that I found in the improvised cellar

Beneath the wardrobe in my parents’ final dwelling.

My birth year, I’m afraid, was not a good vintage;

I comfort myself that my father could not have known this.

‘May I open it?’ ’Why don’t you,’ he said.

We wondered if the wine would still work

And if I could get the cork out in one piece.

The answer to these questions was no.

It was a terrible Margaux but we finished it anyway.

Not for the first time, my father told me about how he

sailed from Sumatra to Holland by ocean liner,

A trip that took three to four weeks eighty years ago;

An unimaginable long time for anything, but

How I wish I were on that ship right now.

We talked for two hours my father and I

More accurately: I grilled him.

A familiar crossfire. He didn’t doze off once. 

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