A Peach of a Poem (for Mary Ann Jansen)
Summer browned legs dangle off the tailgate
black chuck taylors
red ball jets
kick back and forth.
Sometimes in rhythm.
Among them, two tumbled down baskets.
One stained on the bottom from long ago apples
eaten before this trio were born.
A few left forgotten in the bottom to rot and stain.
The aged wooden slats brown and known.
The other is younger
like the tailgate riders themselves
Yellow-white unmarred by fruit or life.
Both piled high with peaches the size of their dad’s fist.
They had come to apple pick
but the orchard man had begged them
to pick the peaches instead before they ruined his trees.
And so they did.
They filled four bushels
and ate their weight in fruit
devouring a sweetness they were starving for
until it dripped from elbows
until grinning faces were runneled
with dirt and sweat and juice.
They laughed as the bumblebees
light and taste and try to decide
if they are fruit or foe
or if they are peaches.
The owner of those red ball jets is old now.
She dare not climb a tree for fear of falling.
Her damaged knees no longer swing without clicking.
And the bees no longer taste her.
She is old and bitter to them now.
She smiles, thinks to herself
The peaches and Ibecame one long ago.