“Ode to the First Peach” (poem) (Ellen Bass).

A San Diego friend emailed me this poem this week. How did she know this was the week I was missing peaches so badly? Also missing Annie of Sweet Tree Farms, the best & coolest fruit farmer in the Whole World. We do have a couple of peach trees on the property, but no fruits yet. Although there are huge, bodacious raspberries blooming. Also blueberries. And plums! So there is really nothing for me to complain about. But ooh. The joy of eating a peach. While standing over the sink. The juice dripping down my chin. And looking out the window as I bite. And taking the pit in my fingers. And throwing it outside. Just in case. It wants to grow. Into a peach tree of its own.

 

**

Ode to the First Peach

Only one insect has feasted here,
a clear stub of resin
plugs the scar. And the hollow
where the steam was severed
shines with juice.
The fur still silvered
like a caul. Even
in the next minute
the hairs will darken,
turn more golden in my palm.
Heavier, this flesh,
than you would imagine
like the sudden
weight of a newborn.
Oh what a marriage
of citron and blush!
It could be a planet
reflected through a hall
of mirrors. Or
what a swan becomes
when a fairy shoots it
from the sky at dawn.
At the beginning of the world,
when the first dense pith
was ravished and the stars
were not yet lustrous
coins fallen from the
pockets of night,
who could have dreamed
this would be curried
from the chaos.
Scent of morning and sugar,
bruise and hunger.
Silent, swollen, clefted life,
remnant always remaking itself
out of that first flaming ripeness.

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