I like a green olive
stuffed with a pimento
after it has been submerged
for some time in a martini.
I like to go downtown with my husband,
sit in a booth at the Grand
and let the drink rub the edge
off the inane fight we had
about the furniture salesman
and whether he treated us fairly,
my view, or whether he tried
to put one over on us,
my husband’s view.
In some moods we’ll fight about anything
just to make the other
carry the weight of anger
we lug all day through our lives.
But that moment
when we climb into bed
on a winter’s night,
letting our bodies lie down,
letting the day be over,
its not unlike the way gin
loosens the rope, lets float
the raft into its stillest waters.
Happy hour, when the landscape
loses its daylight meaning
as it slips into the silk of dusk
before night pours down its jazzy notes
in a cathedral of crushed velvet.
We are sitting side by side in the booth,
watching the flurry of holiday shoppers
come in from the cold.
By now the salesman is a jerk,
or he’s a helluva guy,
either way is fine.
We are talking about anything,
having drifted out into the calm
plainness of intimacy. Nothing
profound, just a place to rest
at the end of the day,
the cord between us swinging gently
after the bells have stopped their ringing.

“Gin” by Jacqueline Berger, from “The Gift that Arrives Broken”.
© Autumn House Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)