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Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

 
It is night
that keeps the peach
from ripening too fast,
 
the cool of the dark
that allows the sugar
to develop, to grow—
 
oh soul, is it any wonder
I have started
to pray for longer nights?

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Quince


for Christie


Shaggy and mottled,
lumpy as an old woman’s thighs,
five quince recline in the shallow bowl
and all day I marvel
as the delicate scent opens,
exotic and fragrant,
like guava, like honey,
like citrus, vanilla.
Every year my friend
harvests me quince from her tree,
and every year they somehow
astonish me again.
As if I didn’t know.
As if their sweetness is new.
Perhaps the annual forgetting is a gift,
because what joy
in falling in love with them
again each year,
their bright yellow scent,
the honest perfume of friendship,
the thrill in their ripening.

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Late Summer

            for Vivian and Christie


This lyric afternoon with its fruit trees
and friendship and barest kiss of rain,
is it so wrong to want to save it, the way
I will process the dark plums into jam?
Is it so wrong to want to preserve
the honeyed song of summer, the warmth
of sun, the pleasure of an afternoon
with my daughter and a friend?
An ovation of thunder.
Scent of basil. Purr of cat.
The creamy fuzz of the growing quince.
The joy as we try for the first time
black apricots, their skin so surprising,
their flesh so nectar-ish. I will freeze
most of the ripe blackberries we gathered,
will savor them come snow, come cold.
A day such as this is like yeast in wheat dough—
it’s not there just for taste, it’s the difference
between bread and a brick.
It invites a trust there will be other days
filled with elation. Dig in, it seems to say.
Don’t save for later what can only be lived today.
Even the disbelief that a day could be so good—
that too, tastes so nourishing, so sweet.

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The Gift


 
It still had its leaves on it,
the pomegranate she handed me.
And holding that smooth red sphere
in my palm, I felt not only
the jeweled weight of each bright seed,
but also the weight of the many nights
the fruit had hung on the tree,
felt how the nights had slowed the growth
so the fruit could develop more sugar.
Not all things get to ripen.
 
Oh, this small gift of sweetness.
How it opened in me such red tenderness—
the memory of a boy learning how
to open and eat a pomegranate,
scarlet juice trickling down his chin.
And now. I hold it in awe,
this beautiful thick-skinned globe,
hold it less like a fruit,
hold it more like a love
I was just beginning to know.
 

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Burst




So full of sugar,
the ripe plums
on the counter
begin to split
their skin—a sign
they’re beginning
the journey
to wine.

Sometimes,
like today,
hiking through
spruce forests and
wildflower meadows,
past beaver ponds
and through
clearings of chanterelles,
I, too, feel as if
I could split—
so filled with
the sweetness
of life I almost
explode,
tipsier by the moment
broken open
by joy.

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            —for Augusta Kantra
 
 
I remember that day when Augusta and I
stood beneath the satsuma tree at her front gate
and pulled dozens of bright orange spheres
from the branches, filled a basket to brimming,
and still the tree was weighted with fruit.
 
I remember how easily the leather skin peeled away,
the way I always wish an orange might peel.
I remember the juicy sweet flesh—sweeter
than most citrus. I remember it was seedless,
a surprise generosity. And the colder it is,
the sweeter the satsuma will grow.
 
But most of all, I remember Augusta—
her love-ripened smile, her sunny chatter,
her contagious gratitude
for the tree, the fruit, the scent of soft rain, the day.
 
I remember how she thrilled to share with me
something I’d never known before,
how she handed me my first satsuma—
her palm upright, extended,
and in it a small proof of abundant goodness
just waiting to be opened.
 

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Out of Reach

 

 

The crystal vase on the top shelf,

the one that holds two dozen roses.

The Hallelujah Chorus’s high A.

The perfect word that flutters away.

The name of the man walking toward you.

The card that slips between the seats.

The itch on your back. The dream upon waking.

World peace. Inner peace. Any peace.

 

In the kitchen, a persimmon

with its stubborn glossy skin. A knife

with its shrewd steel edge. Oh this art

of choosing to want what’s in hand—

sweet honeyed flesh, yielding and soft.

Oh this craving for blood oranges, tart and red.

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I mean, are you kidding me?!

 

 

They’re just grapes, sure, but

more like what every kiss wants to be—

surprising and unpredictable.

Intensely sweet, spicy, too,

and tough, unwilling to be summed up,

making me pucker at the same time

I long for more, something

I happened to find in the store,

but the taste, the round essence, is wild,

unable to be tamed.

It’s enough to make a woman wonder

how she’s never tried this before,

as if the world’s been holding out on her—

and if this new thrill is possible, well, then

what else might be out there for a woman to find?

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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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In Susan’s Backyard

Spryly
highly
yesly
mumly
Aiden
climbs the
laden
plum tree
smiley
wily
sparkling
eye-ly
Aiden
tosses
ripe plums
highly
through
the air
my hands
are there
sweet boy
who lives
so me
oh my-ly.

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