Sally O'Dowd
Dec 28, 2016 · 2 min read


Named after crops that don’t make it.
The surviving grapes have won the fight against the elements.
Victorious, they bask in the sun
to the winemaker’s delight.

A punctuated Grenache,
its bottle had a label in black

and white,
with a pencil sketch
of glass broken into hexagons.

Shatter was big, round,
full in the mouth,
nostalgic in the swallow,
as winding
as a nineteenth-century novel.

No short phrases in that bottle —
neighborhood lore.
And the painful
but understandable pauses
when you think back
to what you’re not talking about
and you’re staring into your glass,
your index finger circling the rim.

I came home at 2 a.m.
You were sound asleep in your bed.
I, your baby,
curled up between you and the wall.
I held your warm hand
and found a corner of pillow.

The next day you said I breathed heavily,
as one might after drinking too much,
that you kept your arms around me
and eventually fell back asleep.

Some said I should not have disturbed you,
that you were too weak,
and I said,
“She is alive,
we are alive,
and that’s how she likes it.”

I’ll never forget the warm space,
close, under the sheet,
to the inevitable.
Slow in my thoughts upon waking,
reading your looming departure —
a sentence that would never end.

The Wine Was Called is a poem in Sally O’Dowd’s collection Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Other Tales of Love and Loss.

Sally O'Dowd

Written by

multimedia content production and marketing, magazine self-publisher and poet

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade