In the Midst of Catastrophe, She Blesses What Falls
I’m here to confess the asian pear tree in our yard had a year of unabashed
bounty, fruits hanging like succulent yellow baubles, so heavy
the crown drooping, so close to toppling. And how it was a joy
upon first discovery that I could hardly
stomach. Glowing like some gaudy garden of riches. The waste the idle glut
some kind of beautiful
dagger. And that I almost made sake and pear sorbet. I say almost—
a truth of which I am slightly
ashamed. Now the rotting fruits stink of autumnal afterbirth, littering gold
and sodden, fermenting the ground
and I cannot bear to follow you, my irrepressible bright companion.
I cannot bear to follow you through the yard
when you run, arms out singing. So I have come to report
I have wasted the bounty. A tree dizzy with offering. The pears a seduction
of globed thinly lit marvels. And excepting the days you pulled me out
to the sea of brown and bobbing spillage and plucked them from the ground to devour,
your exuberance even for the wormy bits—my crime: letting them rot
in the late summer yard, cleft with twigs, marred with gravel,
the fruit flies, the ants swarming. Their light their small brightness
evidence of my own spoiled harvest, whole orchards
rotting in the hearth of me— fear a thief, sleeplessness a huntress.
But then you are out singing and I think:
Are we not surviving just a little? What comes of bounty unreceived? Will it seep
like honey back to the underworld? Is the earth underfoot
drunk on pear wine? If we were gambling on pears
we would have struck it rich, then lost all our winnings
in the last draw. Except, there’s you: you want to stand in the midst of the rotting fruits
and pretend you have wings.
And why not? You are winged. If these crimes mark the end of days,
yours is the last voice I will hear singing.
Anya Kirshbaum (she/her) is a queer poet and psychotherapist living in Seattle, Washington with her partner and family. Her work has appeared in The Comstock Review and Cirque and was a finalist for the New Millennium Writing Awards.