Chris S Fuqua’s published books include Big Daddy’s Gadgets (novel), Trust Walk(short-story collection), If I Were… (children’s poetry collection), The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, Alabama Musicians: Musical Heritage from the Heart of Dixie, Divorced Dads, and Notes to My Becca, among others. My work has appeared in publications such as Main Street Rag, Dark Regions, Iodine, Christian Science Monitor, Bogg, Year’s Best Horror Stories XIX, XX and XXI, Slipstream, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and The Writer.
The wine’s cheap, but local,
so it’s good, really good,
like the poems and prose to come.
The blue-haired lady recalls the day
she heard Frost read on the radio,
how she was hooked
and certain now her snow poem
will be a hit.
The one the others gather around,
she’s dropping names of her talented friends
and barbs about the last student in her class
who dared write a poem
about gays and the Klan.
She’s confident, certain that tonight’s fare
will be as clever and as publishable
as any she’s had the fortune
to guide into print.
She’s round-eyed, accepting,
as each poem dresses itself
in autumn leaves, birdsong,
March winds, and love — yes, sweet love.
She greets each with a nod, a smile,
and that’s wonderful.
When the circle comes to her, the last,
she says, “I wasn’t really planning
to share one tonight…but,”
and begins to recite,
breathy, leaning in,
eyes emphasizing punctuation,
until the smile resurrects,
the voice normalizes,
and the nod accepts the accolades.
And all I can think about is the wine,
gulped with a grin and a grimace.
So it goes, so it goes.