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Poem: Chartreuse

Sipping memories like chartreuse,

we were so damn happy then,

when Indiana stopped the clock again—

snowbound, midnight, plaid pajamas

with our last name stitched in gold;

that name found and formed

by the flush face, wide grin, watery eyes

across the island, as every reference

sent you whirling through the center,

belly-laughing on your stool,

joy bursting through the roof

as you led the way toward stars.

Eat another bowl, pour another drink.

Deal another hand, laugh until you can’t.

I think we had another glass that night—

that’s what happy people do:

they sip chartreuse in matching pajamas.

From French alpines and willing hands

for the man you loved for forty years,

we even snuck it in a suitcase

and drank it at the monastery—

we had to somehow take you with us.

Now we’re trying to make it last

afraid memories run dry like bottles—

will a drop an hour do?

Some drink to celebrate,

others to remember, many to forget—

now we do the last two all at once.

That’s what sad people do:

they are emptied, even when being filled,

for gifts become voids when the giver is gone.

This poem was first published on


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