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The Lake of Claret
by Maja Trochimczyk
The scent of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air
Hot sangria in my glass, white light shines
Through the rich hue of claret, opalescent
Like my silk scarf at a California party
I savor the taste of long ago — that evening
On the lake by the bonfire heating a huge metal pot
With cheap wine from bottles marked “Wino”
In a fake handwriting — no provenance,
No appellation controlée
We put plums, apples and piernik spices
Into our grzane wino during that fateful
Sailing trip, spending nights under dark
Fir branches, picking mushrooms 
And blueberries in the underbrush
They thrive in acidic soil fed by rotting needles
Where a pungent smell of decay and fruit lingers
Beneath prickly juniper swathed in cobwebs
Drops of moisture gather on pine bark
Striped by shadows
A handful of wild strawberries glisten
Among delicate blades of grass in forest clearings
We lose our way, lured on by their promise
Of sweetness, their carmine hue, light aroma
Brightened by sunshine
We did not talk much then, my last year
Of wandering through Mazurian Lakes
Stopping at island coves, setting camp, moving on
After a morning dive to the sandy bottom,
Scattering the fish
It was best to listen to the wind in the treetops
Pine branches whispering to each other
About the end of summer, snow that will break them,
Icicles that may kill —grateful conversations never had

But now taking place

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