The Good Names Print
Written by Nikitas Magel   

In the store aisles,
I sample the names
holding them in my mouth,
swishing them through my teeth,
and although I know
I should be careful
about trying too many,
sometimes I can't help myself,
and I taste label after label
until I become flushed
by the soft round vowels,
the firm crisp consonants,
the spice of my accents and umlauts,
my tongue becoming thick
from words around the world.

I savor the sound of places
I've been or want to go.
Tuscany and Tumbarumba.
Carneros and Coonawara,
Closing my eyes,
I imagine the vineyards,
the hills and waters,
trees and stones,
the suns and rains and fogs,
until a voice comes
across the landscape
asking with concern
Is there something
I can help you with?

In the middle of the night,
I repeat the good names
Emilion, Languedoc, Montrachet,
Penedès, Alentejo, Rheingau,
whispering them into the dark
as if they're lovers
or prayers for lovers.

— Joe Mills