First Taste

The Cassells home-place cellar,
A real cellar—earthen-floored,
must-scented, raven-aired.

Grandma Annie Casssells
and ten-year-old me,
heave worn wooden doors,

throw daylight underground,
pick our way down brick slab steps,
stand still, let our eyes adjust.

She leads
Bound for thick, unpainted plank shelves
Jammed against the far wall.

She reaches
For a dusty jug
amongst canned pickles, peaches, beans.

She pours
a half-pint jelly jar one-quarter full,
announces,  “grape juice.”

She savors
A long dark liquid sip

She passes
the almost-empty jar
to me.

She cautions
“Just a little now.
It makes you feel all warm inside.”

She stretches
her eager knobby fingers for the rest
as the jar leaves my lips.

We ascend
Hugging peaches and pickles,
like nothing else ever happened down there.

—Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells is a teacher, poet, and writer who added “life coach” and “speaker” to her resume after retiring from teaching middle school. She is a long-time member of Writers of Kern whose poems have been published in several online ‘zines and print anthologies. “First Taste” was published in Scarlet Leaf Review, March 2016.

One thought on “First Taste

  1. Anke Hodenpijl

    I love this poem more with each reading. What a delight to be a part of such a intimate moment with your grandmother. Thank-you.


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