On Olives and Vanilla
Gin, vermouth and an olive were enough
for my parents’ martinis. Maybe vodka
for the token artist. Laughter, wet rings
on the stereo and canapes from the kitchen.
Two in the corner reviewed the news hour —
a dozen stories read by a reassuring voice.
We call those simpler times. No lime
in the beer, much less vanilla.
Some debates stayed in the church or family
or quietly in those final days at the hospital.
Tonight there will be wasabi martinis
and cranberry vodka. The beer will still
be cold but my father would garble the name.
There is no reassuring voice and no stereo,
just a twenty-four hour news cycle
streaming the messiahs-in-waiting
until the final moments on social media.