The Complaint of a Zalto Crystal Wine Glass

By Emily Macdonald

I expected a quiet life.  Kept in the dark clean cupboard, upright to the air. Brought out on special occasions. ‘High days and holidays’—is what they promised me—’for the very best wines.’ I assumed first growths, grand cru’s, the mature, rare, and collectable.

But it started with three to four times a week.  Cupping me, he polished, tender towel on my fragile neck, being careful to remove stains and traces of thumbprints.  

Now, I’m out every day.  I’m weak—so tired I might snap.  

He still never pours beyond the widest part of my bowl, but he pours so often, refills over and over. He starts with a swirl—I’m sick of the dizziness—and inhales.  I release perfume and wait for his satisfied grunts before takes me to his mouth. 

Sometimes, when he’s kept me out for hours—golden green whites, then bloody red tarnishing my rim, perhaps sweet too, glycerol tears, leaving me sticky and clammy—he grips my neck too hard or bangs me against the table.   I fear him most when he tilts my crystal to his lips, knowing there’s an aching in his teeth, knowing that one day soon he will bite.


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Emily Macdonald was born in England but grew up in New Zealand.

Fascinated by wine as a student, she has worked in the UK wine trade ever since. Since going freelance at the start of 2020, she has started creative writing.

Emily has work published with Reflex Fiction, Retreat West, Virtual Zine, Globe Soup and Hammond House.

In writing and in wines she likes variety, persistent flavor, and enough acidity to add bite.

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