Thursday, May 31, 2018

"Plenty" by Yoni Hammer-Kossoy

"Apricots" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
Yoni Hammer-Kossoy

Despite tight-fisted rains
and an early bloom
when all but the hardiest
or most foolish bees
were tucked deep
in winter slumber,
the backyard apricot tree
was crammed full of fruit
come the middle of May
like a clown filling the air
with a cascade of balls
mocking gravity
and the laws of motion.

For a few panicked weeks
it was impossible to keep up
with the ripening flood:
here and there sat perfect
golden orbs while most
grew cracked and bruised,
ugly ducklings only a parent
could love, but oh so sweet,
each a captured rub of sun.

There was never enough
for this insistent harvest:
not enough buckets
or jam jars, never enough
time to trim and wash,
never enough recipes for cakes
or crumbles, salads, tarts
or pies and then it was a relief
to simply give the fruit away
to anyone else with a basket.

Until one warm windy night
when the highest stragglers
came down like a final
meteor shower. I could hear them
from the bedroom window
crash between branches
before landing with a dull thud.

Poet's Notes:  There is, as one might imagine, an apricot tree in my backyard. When that tree was just a few years older than a gangly sapling, my wife asked a gardener if there was any reason to be concerned that it was barely growing any fruit. How many fruit, he asked. Just four or five, she answered. Four or five? That’s wonderful, he said. Which I guess was his gentle way of saying don’t worry, good things take time. The memory of him saying this always puts a wide smile on my face now, especially when dealing with hundreds of apricots ripening over a few very hectic weeks.

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