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eating fruit in california :: shirley lim

by on January 5, 2016

That hard green pear, one of a dozen
Snagged in the red mesh sack, now has
A pale blotch on one cheek.
Tenderly I shave it off, pare
Down to clean flesh and juice.
Eat it. Soon the others will be thrown
Into the trash, too ripe, too many.
Like the onions, round as coconuts,
Grown pungent legs; tubers hairy
And spotty; and slim yellow bananas,
Blown brown-soggy overnight.

Papayas were dollars a pound,
But why buy one, why two? How many
Would be too many? I teeter
On a decision, reach for the answer.
So it goes. Cruciferous cabbages
Are not eternal, although eternal plenty’s
Promised here. What is as lovely
As lemons heaped in a bowl, sunlight
Imprinted on skin? A miracle of loaves
And lemons at my hand turns daily.
Still, I do not know how to shop
For two, for one, cannot learn the lesson
Of plenty. Is beauty one or bounty?
Will these fruits, shades of gold and glop,
On the plate, stay ideal and sound?


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