[n] – The distinct characteristics of a wine caused by the environment in which it was grown
[n] - A sense of place
[n] – The way I am shaped by you.
The night before you ask me to marry you,
you bring home a chest of cheese –
a gift from your boss at the market.
We laugh at the abundance,
at the way barns and mountain flowers
and rain-soaked animal tang mushroom up
and out into our tiny apartment.
We’re five floors up, but I imagine
the waves of scent rolling slowly over the balcony
like a waterfall of pungent honey.
The wine glasses ring softly
You lift each of your treasures
tenderly onto the countertop,
unwrapping the wax paper as if it’s silk,
and telling me stories of the farmers
and their darkened mornings.
Cubes of pork on greasy bread
or thick soup in enamel mugs before sun up
and the first milking. I can almost feel dew
and fading starlight on my skin,
the slow press of sleepy cows, warm bodies,
light and flesh, clanging bells
and creamy froth hitting buckets.
I watch your hands flutter like an artist’s might
as you show me the way the Langres
is washed in eau-de-vie,
the way the Mont D’Or is cradled
by a circlet of spruce. I file these tidbits away
in my cabinet of reasons for loving you.
Tomorrow we will sip glasses of cold white wine.
We will dip hunks of bread into molten gold,
and under the tree in a box tied with ribbon will be
a smaller circlet studded with a sapphire the colour of winter.
I’ll feel a shift in the horizon, the tiniest shiver of ripples
across the surface of my glass. ‘Yes’ I’ll think. ‘Yes’.
Jen Feroze lives by the sea in Essex. Her work has recently appeared in publications including Magma, Poetry Wales, Spelt, Atrium and Stanchion. She was a winner of the 2022/2023 Magma Editors' Prize, and her debut pamphlet is forthcoming with Nine Pens.