War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

black plums

for S

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams/This is Just to Say

I cut black plums, Italian,
empty the blackberries’ summery beads,
strip the Delicious, the Fujii, all my apple trees
Role 3’ed through my drought with a snake green IV;

all summer AWOL, I climbed buttes,
tried to take the long view where it blasted
hot, hot as Afghanistan, hot as the oven
that waits. I measured, sifted.

descended, entered blue, shadows cool,
great coulees filled with thunder, the dead
rivers of bison, dust devils of cracked hooves
settled in mouth, eyes, crackled hair;

Montana. Saskatchewan. the grasslands
set with rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets, every step
good in long grass, grass gingered with bison tufts,
next year’s perfect little nests for song birds;

mid-summer you called. desperate. lost.
I listened. listened. forced you to eat (again).
heard you rifle through your freezer, cupboards,
searching for food like a weapons cache;

mid-summer you came close to it. your voice
unwhiskeyed, unryed, almost undid my hope
but somehow you heard my hand reaching
for the fruit growing in this orchard;

late, it is late now. I feel you, your re-nerve.
I hear the opening of you, the opening
like the Frenchman River valley glaciated—
three tours in you carved something ready

ready for a fullness, a river,
ready for a wife, a child, a house,
all that others are bored with you fought for,
desired, hid like a holy picture under your helmet;

the night you called, on the home front black plums dropped,
some hung on, fattened for this ripening,
that I could come to this day, pick them juicy,
ready a cake you and I could, or may never, eat.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled black plums. It was posted here on September 09, 2010.


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