Posts Tagged ‘apricots’




I remember walking the orchard rows

and picking ten flowers from ten apricot trees,

then opening them with my thumbnail,

one by one, peeling back the white petals

to reveal the telling heart. In some,

the pistil and style were still green,

in others, shriveled and black.

We could estimate percentages—

how much of the crop had survived.


It takes only a half an hour for a killing frost

to render barren dozens of acres of trees.

And what of the human heart? If it

had blossoms, could we count them, too,

and say after a cold spell, what chance

love had of staying on the tree? Is it

simply a matter of degree? And duration,

too, of course. Or is there something more?


Sometimes the loss of fruit is a blessing—

the tree can only support so much.

But is it the same with love? Is there

a kindness in loss? Or is love not like

the cherry tree, not like the apricot?

Does it want only to thrive, to blossom,

to offer as much as it can?


And let’s say there is no fruit.

Trees still need water, need nourishment.

So much investment for what looks

like a season when nothing will ripen.

Tell yourself, one season is not

the life of an orchard. Tell yourself

sometimes it’s worse than it seems.

Sometimes there’s life high up in the tree.

Sometimes it’s a killing freeze.







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On the counter waits thirty pounds
of apricots, and even after hours

of halving the soft flesh, removing the pits
and arranging them to dry, each apricot feels

like a present, sweet commonplace perfection.
I pass their humble weight from hand to hand

and marvel at their apricotness—recalling
how yesterday they were clustered and strung

on the limbs so thick that the branches hung low to touch
the orchard floor. Oh gravity, what is it you love

about sweetness. Even the lovers who churn
in the grass are drawn into your promise.

But not tonight. Tonight, there are apricots
ripe and gold and glistening in the center.

Tonight there is this art of making
sweetness last just a little bit longer,

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I thought
by leaning
into loss,
it would become
more comfortable.
But it is like
overripe apricots.
There is no
no pretending,
no way
to make
it anything
but what
it is.
They are overripe.
to be done
about a gift
like that
except to walk
the rows
and gather
the sunwarmed
flesh, bruised
and soft,
and eat it until
you can’t
eat another
sweet bite,
then gather
the fruit
to freeze
until the freezer
will hold no more
and then
when the orchard
floor is still
mottled with
fruit on the edge
of moldering,
know there
is really
to be done,
and though
it is uncomfortable
stop naming
this experience
loss and
start leaning
into what is,
the only
we can

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ripe apricots
heavy with sweetness
strewn around
the orchard floor this calm
morning after the wind storm

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The buds swell
till the shuck
but we
are not there

Inside, petals,
crushed and clenched
tiny fists pushing
against what
for so long
has protected them.

It is better
not yet
to bloom.
Better to remain
closed until
the days do
what days do,
lengthen and push back
the edges of cold.

It is cold.
It is cold.
White comes.
I grow old.

The opening comes
when it comes,
and when it whitely comes
there are no guarantees
that it will not freeze again.

But for now,
what is soft
leaps against
what is hard
and there is
infinite potential

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