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, “grenade”?
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 whose fruit 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 And where 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.