This poem arose from a vivid memory: an apricot tree that grew alone in a small side yard of a childhood home in Pico Rivera, CA. Rather than pick the fruit, we let it fall to the ground and rot. If I’d dug a hole, I’d could have marked the seasons and years by layers of dirt, fruit, leaves, mold, and creatures that thrive on decay. The smell was disgusting, and that’s why no one ever went over there to pick the fruit. A cycle of neglect that I break with this poem.
An aside: I wrote this for a class and was accused of liking lists so much I overuse them in my poetry. I prefer the word “series”, and I use them not because I like them, but because I like commas. That’s very different. So there.
Last winter I lay down under an apricot tree, the frosted earth wrapping me in a blanket of dead leaves and neglected fruit.
In spring, before beetles and worms consumed me, roots encircled my remains and drew me up through trunk, branch, twig and blossom.
By late summer I had become flesh, juice and stone. A frail hand picked me and carried me in a basket to a small kitchen in a small house. I was boiled with sugar and lemon, sealed in a glass jar and hidden in a dark, cool corner to sleep.
At autumn’s end, I awoke as a hand placed my jar in a warm square of sun on a worn oak table. Through the glass I watched an old woman spoon me onto whole wheat toast and eat me between sips of warm chamomile tea.