Saturday, May 05, 2007

Michael Minassian: CHERRY TREES

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CHERRY TREES read by the author, Michael Minassian.

Down a foot worn path
on the outskirts of the forest
the cherry trees stood
surrounding an abandoned field
some farmer had left
to the sun, wild grain, and dandelion fuzz.

Picking cherries, the sun
beat on our backs
as my grandfather held me
among the branches, my limbs stained
red with cherry blood,
my shirt stuck to my skin
with the sun’s hot breath.

One day we took a different path home
our pails bumping together,
brimming with cherries
full of sun and juice and pits
to the home of a woman,
an old friend, my grandfather said,
and gave her a bag of our stolen fruit.

Later, I heard, this woman
would sing to her chickens
before she wrung their necks,
and bare her breasts to the sun,
loving life, she said;
then disappeared
from memory for thirty years,
until I brought her back,
wrinkled and naked,
yearning for the warm
juice of fresh-picked fruit, the skin
of old men, and young boys asleep
on the neck of a bird.

Copyright Michael Minassian

THIS POEM FIRST APPEARED IN KARAMU MAGAZINE IN SPRING-1995 and is reprinted here by kind permission of the author

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