Just in time for Valentine’s Day, LENNDEVOURS’ Poet Laureate, Christopher Watkins presents a piece about the joys of pairing wine with chocolate.

Pepper-Side Down
By Christopher Watkins

Suspend disbelief for the moment

to watch her fine white hands

and slender fingers

twist the shining silver

of the grinder;

Be patient, study

the coarse grains on the blanched

white circle of your plate,

each as different

as a blackened snowflake;

Let your tongue

touch the moist crease

at the joining of your lips

as she lets the peat-brown
square of chocolate

down onto your napkin;

Listen now, listen

as she tells you what to do—

Your eyes, be they brown,

blue, or gray, don’t leave
the dark recesses

of her fine Italian eyes,

the blue at the long ends of
the tunnels,

you’re staring at them as she

guiding the chocolate and your

towards one another—

"Lick one side of the

and you do it, eyes

still on her face,

almost slow motion…

"Dip the wet side in the

and you do it, eyes

still on her face,

almost slow motion…

You have your wine glass in
your hand,

you drink when she tells you

My God, you think,

orange chocolate and freshly
ground organic pepper,

what has this woman done to

"Have another sip of wine,"
and you do it, converted.