Spring 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1995 |

Whiskey

Which is foolish to praise for it took my grandfather's sopping life and wrung it out like the old checkered shirt he always wore, wool sluffed down to a sheen of green threads, but still it comes more or less directly from God, one of the great charms against the several forms of pain and the one nostrum for ague that really works, taken with the juice of a sour fruit, heated in pewter over a candle flame: Of course it makes you dream—it takes you down into the vegetable soul, but look, it makes you also resemble the spirit, which it is, in that you will think you are your essences and so recite the sadness of the body. It is not metaphor. It does not need us. Neither is it pleasure in the same way that a man or woman might be comfort to the other, or in the way a small child might run to you, glad for your face or voice, and yet its acids will bathe you. And it sings. Take it down quickly in the small glass. There is Ulysses tied to his weathered pole, and there, in the sun that

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Frank X. Gaspar is an American poet, novelist, and professor of Portuguese descent. His most recent novel is Stealing Fatima (Counterpoint press, December, 2009). His collection of poetry, Night of a Thousand Blossoms (Alice James Books, 2004) was one of twelve books honored as the "Best Poetry of 2004" by Library Journal. His most recent collection of poems is Late Rapturous, from Autumn House Press.

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