Acquired Tastes

by Allen M. Weber
FreeWrights Peer Review
Honorable Mention, September 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


If he’s perturbed at all by the drowning
wasp, twirling in week-old dishwater,
or dismayed at the ruin of what’s left

of their ficus—its leaves shriveled and
dropping like question marks on the floor—
he refuses to concede any of it.

His was a talent for beginning; but once
past the shallow bluster of seduction
he found her to be an acquired taste, like

even a single malt Scotch. He’d deny
using the toothbrush she left behind
and claim that photographs of her, and them

together, didn’t upset him, that they were
taken down to mute the walls: he’d never
get used to the colors she chose.

And he’s been too busy to buy new paint,
so the unfaded rectangles still mock
the weakness of his endgame. Resigning

to suffer through her favorite Coltrane,
he sips diluted Scotch and wonders why
one wants to acquire a taste for anything.


In medias res - a place, an action, a question. The diction is interesting: 'perturbed' 'ficus', 'shallow bluster of seduction', the syntax teasing and sustained. The tone is light, a touch breezy even. It sets out a subject then explores it, that is all, like a piece of fiction, but it is skilful and entertaining. --George Szirtes

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