I raise the glass, thinking to drink as a thousand times before. But I hear my grandmother’s glass xylophone. Tiny, high-pitched dings sound above the almost-monotonic poppings.
I tilt the glass and hear the sound of the sea inside a shell: the ocean twice removed.
The gap closes between liquid and ear: spitting, then the sound of desert wind, of wind through sheoaks.
Pressing my head to the rim of the glass, the pressure changes so half my head, half my being, is transported. The wind disappears and is replaced by pricks like the long grey needles of a rock.
Then it becomes hard rain hitting a windscreen with volume muted. And spitter, sputter like fireworks fizzling out. This chameleon champagne.
I scarcely want to drink it for losing the sound – the loss of one sense to another.
I lift my head towards vertical. The liquid wells up – so much the ocean. Anticipation of cold.
Will I be happy to drink it after it has touched my ear? An ear is different from a mouth.
The liquid prickles towards me. There is exquisiteness in guessing when it will reach my lobe. I have expectations of a shell lipped by the sea.
Mouth and ear are transposed. I feel the connection of all canals. I can ingest through my ear!
Champagne glides downwards emitting infrequent gurgles.
And then I hold its tickle, the idea of touch, against me. I move slightly and … contact. But I have a sense that it does not wet. It feels dry, contained.
The champagne licks my lobe like a puppy. It seems to be the bubbles, but it must be my bodily movements, making it lap. A little tilt and I am wet – like choosing to allow my feet in the ocean. It’s wet and spiky like a brittle, beautiful, Christmas decoration.
It’s the brittle of glass – sparse, new and horizontal.
And suddenly, champagne, free-flowing in my ear, does not appeal. That might be for another day when my ears are scrupulously clean. I did not embark on this with forethought.
I lower the glass. My arm is sore. My shoulder, edged. I let my arm hang like a horse’s head.
The champagne is tepid and silent to my distant ears, like a once-lover.
The glass stands empty.
We have journeyed together.
We remain witnesses.
With apologies to William Blake but it was such an apt title.
To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wildflower
What is the vessel of your miniature journey?