Drupes in Cold Storage

Peaches languish with spring in
the bottom drawer where autumnal plums
overripen into winter decay. Summer deflates
the apricots stored beside fresh milk.

I know my mother does not approve.
She still uses old-world fruit bowls,
ignores the indentations made
by wickerwork on delicate skin.

She insists on the rubber quality of children
because she witnessed our bicycle falls,
how we bounced back to finish the race.
Scraped knees is part of growing up.

I do not mention miscarriages she never had,
the profound loss of being unable
to preserve life. Even bartering at the market
has all the after-pain of caesarian.

Wrinkles gather on fruits like flies,
the fridge helpless against age
as if hungry seasons sucked each to the pit.
I mourn each plastic bag abandoned in the trash.

Cherry, my ten-year-old, comes down for breakfast
her face furrowed with puzzlement
as she shows me her new sneakers. I forget
about rotten drupes, bend down to tie her laces.

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