Rotgut

written by Brooks Haxton

Rotgut

— Brooks Haxton

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor
the moon by night. Psalm 121

On a hillside scattered with temples broken
under the dogday sun, my friend and I drank
local wine at nightfall and ate grapeleaves
in goat-yogurt glaze. The living grape vines
bore fruit overhead. Beyond our balcony,
beyond the Turkish rooftops, an old moon
touched Venus at one tip. This vintage,
he said, would melt pig iron. But I wondered,
were we drunk enough, and he said no. I took him,
staggering and laughing, in my arms, and soon,
with snow at nightfall easing off,
another old moon slid into the hill
behind my dead friend’s house. He loved
that smear of light cast back on it from earth.

About the poet


Brooks Haxton

Brooks Haxton, born in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1950, is the son of the novelist Ellen Douglas and the composer Kenneth Haxton. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, Haxton teaches in the writing programs at Syracuse University and Warren Wilson College. He lives in Syracuse with his wife and three children.Brooks Haxton's Works:Nakedness, Death, and the Number Zero, The Lay of Eleanor and Irene (Backcountry, 1985) Dominion (Knopf, 1986) Traveling Company (Knopf, 1989) Dead Reckoning (Story Line Press, 1989) The Sun at Night (Knopf, 1997)

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