Bottled Up

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My husband brews beer
in our tiny kitchen.
Every month or so, the
subterranean scent of
boiling hops and malted grain
sinks into our home
and my husband beams with pride.
Brewing he does alone.

But four weeks later,
bottling is easier with
two pairs of hands, and so
tonight I laid the baby down with
a story chanted twice and
a song sung so many times
in a twilit tiredness
over the past months
that the words have lost their meanings,
reverted back to pure sound,
tones on my tongue,
and he slept,
belly down,
mostly bare in the heat,
oblivious to the popping of firecrackers outside.

My husband set everything up-
the buckets, the tubing-
while I poured for each of us a glass from
the last batch.
Mostly bare as well,
we were soon slick with
sweat and sanitizer as the
old rhythm came back to us and we
washed all of the bottles,
peeled off their old labels,
and set them to dry.

We stole quick kisses from the
napes of one another’s necks,
remembering,
as the simple syrup simmered,
nights long gone when
it was just us two in
this same kitchen at the same task.
Together, we filled the dark glass bottles
again,
and capped them tight.

After they were all labeled and stored in the
space under the basement stairs
to age,
we ate chocolate ice cream while
standing barefoot in the scrubbed clean
midnight kitchen.

The baby cried.

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