After Dinner

It's tight at our table,
unknown parts of the same group,
face to face and she wants
to teach me to drink Cognac.

The waiter brings snifters and a bottle,
she mulls it over hot tea --
sets the pear-shaped bottom on its side
pours like 'time has stopped' slowly
the amber liquid into the heated glass.
Small deft hands stroke the aged decanter
as warm zephyrs intoxicate
the narrowing space between us.

"Sip and swirl, don't swallow,
let it slide down your tongue,
ease into your throat.
You have to get past the alcohol
and taste the fruit.
Great tasters can tell the grape,
the region, the exact plot of ground."

My ground is sinking around me,
my face and limbs like embers
as the slick silk glides
as she has instructed,
.... and then she does hers....
the French would be proud.

She circles the rim of the glass,
discovers a drop of the nectar,
with the slightest of smiles
and mink eyes stuck to mine,
puts her finger to my lips
and asks me again to taste the fruit.

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