a constitution

by Kimberly Reyes

…grape vines actually perform better when nutrients are scarce… These conditions cause the vine to focus more energy on survival and less energy on growing grapes… and each grape has more character, concentration, and quality. – Winefolly.com

The harder an entity has to work for something, the greater it will be rewarded in the end. Grapes – and winegrowers – like it tough…
– Inside IWM.com

Soon at least 86 people would be dead in a new and ferocious kind of climate change-inflected wildfire. And Paradise would suffer a fate that appears increasingly likely: the total destruction of a modern American city.
– The Guardian

The lined white stalks
on the Silverado trail
aren’t exactly graves
as much as ads,

flyers: the fire sale
in Paradise.

Red-black grapes
hang taut before
the inevitable
open mouth

coughing celestial ash,
particles of another, a
a caked windshield
milieu of haze, indifference.

(At least 86 cindered hands,
some used to cast the vote,
pull the lever
from the root

that’s their story

about how to squelch,
about how wine was always made
on plantations.)

Here’s what’s true:

Winemaking is the cruelest horticulture.

To make, you must sanitize the grapes,
sediment, first removing the stem,
the remains to ferment, foreign neglect
and chambered cool,
preserving a whiteness, is
avoiding any touch of skin,
a palette cleansing.

Then the
stomping, conversion, abashing
on pillaged land

a sick red, a cackling red
stained-blue white linen
serving.

Can you taste it?
This land is ripe
this land is bitter
this land is burning

in conceit,
siphoning time and tinder
bottling up consequence
to numb the pilfering.