51-degree Champagne at the 42nd parallel,
you pull a magnum from the plastic pail ice bucket.

foil and cage tossed aside,
to grasp the cork between thumb and forefinger,

then turn the bottle.
Pop. Sizzle. Stars.

liquid plays flute
as I pour blanc de noirs for both of us,

seated in our
folding chairs.

shall we toast?
to what, today?

Napoleon Bonaparte said of Champagne,
“In victory, one deserves it.

In defeat, one needs it.”
though it’s a day of neither defeat nor victory.

but part of some other scaffolded demolition or
yet ungrouted building block

toward something
we yet don’t understand.

the Champagne happily chips away
at it a little

the way its grapes chip
at chalky hillsides northeast of Paris for nourishment,

to later be crushed
and create bottlesfull fermented and aged.

yes, I found this poem
like we found this special bottle

marked down in the corner bin
of the dusty liquor store.

and now at our card table outdoors
we breathe hillside air

and swallow tiny bubbles
of carbon dioxide.

am I, like you say, this half-hour’s mermaid of the Extra Brut ether,
or you, my midnight prince of prestige cuvee,

or merely both as simple as this Tuesday sparrow-song night,
yet still savvy enough to quote Dorothy Parker?

“Three be the things I shall never attain:
envy, content and sufficient Champagne.”