By Danusha Laméris

Featured Art by Clara Peeters

He’d wanted the persimmons
and asked her for them, but when
she gave him the brown paper bag,
brimming over, he was taken
aback. Did he really need that many?
Still, he brought them home
to his wife, and soon
there were persimmons ripening
on the kitchen counters, lining
the windowsills. Each day,
growing more and more succulent
until the air was thick
and sweet with their scent.

At breakfast, he’d break one open
with his spoon—the skin supple
and ready to give—stir it into
his hot cereal. Indescribable,
the taste. And a texture he might
have described as sea creature
meets manna from heaven. When
he ate one, he thought of her.
And when he saw her, he thought
of the persimmons. When her arm
brushed, just barely, against his,
did he imagine they both felt
the same quickening? In myth,
fruit is usually the beginning
of disaster. And the way
they made themselves so obvious—
an almost audible orange
against the white walls—
made him wish he’d never asked
her for them, didn’t have to
smell them sugaring the air
with ruin, as he sat there,
face lowered to the bowl, spooning
the soft pulp into his mouth.

Danusha Laméris is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), and Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020). Some of her poems have been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, she teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

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