What Makes This Fruit Ornamental?
For one, I’ve never eaten it
The other year I bought this ornamental apple tree
In your honor.
It didn’t say it was ornamental at the store
I just knew it would be so for you and me.
Sometimes in spring I wear the blossoms in my hair
I pluck carefully not to disturb the bees,
Pouring milk over the welts when I do.
Don’t retaliate, honey is delicious and
I’m sure you’ve heard by now they’re endangered.
Sometimes in summer I confuse the thud of falling apples for music
More so at night
When your eyes are closed
And the leaves rattle themselves like tambourines
And apples on timpani.
All the apples have stars in them in the fall
if you cut them right, that is.
You may be surprised to know
that I’ve always had a knack for cutting them just right
Where the seeds form the five points of a perfect pentagram.
Sometimes in winter I showcase the fruit in a bowl
Kneeling, I gather up the ones with imperfections
Place them in a bowl you’ve seen before
leaving the rest to rot
For next spring’s blossoms.
Did you know the French call them grenades?
How funny it is
That they call them grenades.
I mean, had they not seen a pomegranate
Until after the horrors of the Great War?
Imagine it, home from the front,
A young French soldier holding the weight
Of a pomegranate and turning it over quizzically,
Or perhaps a war machine maker
Horrified by the events in Sarajevo
And eager to take back Alsace
Decided delivering death in a convenient, throwable grenade
Reminiscent of his favorite fruit was a good idea.
You’ve told that story for years
to everyone we know.
Sometimes you ask it like a question
While holding one in your hand
Pausing dramatically, “Do you know
what the French call these?”
Sometimes you wait until someone brings up the Great War,
or other times manufacturing a scenario which crescendos into grenades.
I was driving the other day
Along a road near where we live in California
And the median was filled with pomegranate bushes
At first, I thought were swollen rosebuds.
Seeing them I recalled how we met in France, fell in love and
Grocery shopped in stores where we had to bag our own groceries
we first learned what the French called pomegranates.
And thought to myself
“Who the hell is going to eat all these grenades?”
It’s 3:30 AM
And I want to go to sleep
But I saw a persimmon resting
at the foot of an oak tree today
between the street and sidewalk.
There were no other persimmons around
And I was too much in a hurry to stop and ask it
Why it did not rest with its brothers.
Just passed by
thinking to myself
“I’ll be back for you
when oaks grow persimmons.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zack Martin lives with his family in Silicon Valley where he works as Marketing Data Analyst for a technology startup. Diagnosed in 2016 with Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Zack reads and writes poetry to focus his mind in the present. He draws inspiration from his daily life in Silicon Valley, anxiety, and past experiences working and traveling across Europe. He was a finalist in the 2017 Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival Poetry Competition.