Tapping the Vine

by Sonya Taaffe

Tie him off with a red thread if you want the wine
that whirls in your temples like the turndun’s zone,
the stamp and splatter dripping salted sweet
on the seed-cone, the split fig, the ivy reef
and sheaving — not brandy of barleycorn,
but the older spirit. It drinks like thirsting earth.
Taste it slowly, as if you spoke a ghost in
before the leaves and tendrils enfold your eyes.
The lynx is pacing, the black juice trickling down.
Someone's head will be carried home tonight.

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Poems and short stories of hers have won the Rhysling Award, been shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award and the Dwarf Stars Award, and been reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, and Trochu divné kusy 3. A selection of her work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds masters degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

When asked her opinion on which came first, the fruit or the flower, she replied, "Always the flower: there must be something to catch the eye before the fall."

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