Wine valley to the right,

mountains to the left, me

in the middle, walking

that familiar fine line

between craving and need.


Harnessed grid of hidden

grapes, twining vines beckoning,

snaking through the canopy

of green, green, green and sweet

purple, plump and bursting


on my tongue.  There isn’t

enough wine in this lush

valley to slake my thirst.

So turn away.  Golden

grass climbs the steep mountain,


tendrils of fog caress

treetops, cold fingers prying

earth from sky, a miracle

of silence.  And now, mid-hush,

a rushing breath of breeze


lifts a balloon skyward

from shadow of mountain.

Folks above me wave, and

the burning sight brings me

to my knees where I belong.


Pat Rushin's fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of litmags, both print and online. He has a screenplay in development with the Zanuck Company. Pat coaches creative writers at the University of Central Florida, where he also serves as fiction editor of The Florida Review.

My wife and I spent a summer In Yountville, CA, she working a travel nurse assignment,
me teaching online and writing. And every morning I walked this road. And many
mornings, the hot air balloons followed my trek. A year later, I was teaching an intro
creative writing class and gave my students the assignment to write about a place that had
special meaning to them, first in a page of prose, then in a poem. I answered the same
assignment, and this was the result.



Copyright 2009