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Read the latest from The Source on the theme of relationships!

He likes red wine. Gets a bottle of it when he goes out to eat.
To share, of course, for the two when they meet.
A Crasto in the Winter. So warming.
A white in the Portuguese Summer: crisp, sweet, cooling.

Of course, I’ve never seen him drink wine.
Only the bedside water from that bottle of mine,
Gripped with moist fingers and glugged and glugged
Like the world’s least romantic hug.

I’ve never seen him pick a main, a dessert, a table by the window,
Only a room, a side of the bed, a place for us to go.
And, oh God, I’ve never seen him consume a morsel of food,
Just me, my time, my innocence, my mood.

She must know his taste like the back of her hand,
What he craves, what he can’t stand.
I know his taste too, but the one on his lips at night,
Notes of leather, cherry, pepper, spice.

No, I’ve never seen him drink wine, but I tasted it yesterday,
Forbidden fruit, the richest Cabernet.


This poem puts darkness into the spotlight: the dark side of love; the dark shadow of a memory; and the darkest of secrets. Giving voice to an illicit narrative, Cabernet guides us through the cycle of love, lust, and heartbreak that rules any romantic affair. Wine, something delightful but ultimately intoxicating, works as a core symbolic image in the piece. The image seeps down from title to final word, illustrating the encompassing and cyclical nature of the speaker’s relationship. The double entendre of taste (preference) and taste (flavour) encapsulates the distinction between lover and mistress, yet ultimately, it is clear that the two are not so different.

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