by Jan Steckel

I wasn’t conceived in vitro, but in vino,
when my young mother got tipsy
on artfully spiked fruit punch
at my father’s departmental holiday party.

“Of course we planned you,” said my mother.
“We just planned you for later.”
I’ve known since junior high I was
a diaphragm baby. It’s good to be pushy.

I’m a celebration! I’m a little Dionysius.
I’m what happens when you let down your guard.
I’m a whirlwind, slut-puppy firecracker,
a one-woman OOPS! with a radium glow.

I’m truth and beauty, a force for chaos.
If you don’t like it, kiss my assertiveness.
I’m a random accident, a tossed-off spark,
a twinkle in the conceptual storm’s eye.

If you were conceived in vitro
like my best friend’s kid,
throw all the stones you can
at the transparent walls.

Wine is truth serum, loved one,
so bottoms up, not belly-up.
Belly up to the trough
and imbibe the spiked Kool-Aid.

Maybe, if you’re lucky,
you can shatter your own chrysalis.
Shine like the Aurora Borealis.
Bathe your baby soul in real cabernet.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “In Vino Veritas” is a tribute to Dionysus, the Greek God of wine.

IMAGE: “Bacchus Dance” by André Derain (1906).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jan Steckel’s full-length poetry book, The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011), won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her story Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the Gertrude Press fiction chapbook award. Her chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) was voted First Place in the lesbian and bisexual poetry division of the Rainbow Awards. Her creative writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, Red Rock Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. Her short story collection Ghosts and Oceans is seeking a publisher.