Beer City

My first sip of beer, on a picnic 
table, next to my sister: Labatt

Blue, sour, puckered my face. 
I was seven, eight, twelve—she

six years plus mine. My next 
taste, on my boyfriend’s tongue, slick

metallic ferment. Living in Ontario, 
Hail to the Beer Store, brown glassed

cathedral of Molson or some other long
necked bottle held by teenage 

boys around the fire. In college, kegs
meted into red plastic cups. Yeasty

humidity. I snuck in mickies of tequila, 
Kahlua, vodka. Church told us parties 

were sinful, but all those people packed 
in, closer than hymn sings, had to be holy. 

Grand Rapids crafts Founders, Perrin, Brewery
Vivant. I’ve cozied up along counters, bar

tenders saying you’ll like this
one. They hand me Rubaeus, red 

as a daquiri, watching to be proven right. I sip 
and smile, hops curling my tongue inward 

down toward the guts of memory
when I first decided I didn’t like beer.