Ripe Fruit on Still Trees

By David Kann



The avocado tree, set

in the middle of our concrete backyard

is gravid,

festooned with pebbly green sacs, full purses,

fat night-struck emeralds

on drooping crooked branches

that creaked and moaned all week

in the Santa Ana wind

squeezing through the canyons

and down dry arroyos

with its hot load of mummy-dust.


It’s finally still—

a September Sunday afternoon.

On the hills across the way

the grass, long since bleached

to the color of weathered cardboard boxes,

lies flat.

We lie on our backs,

side-by-side on rumpled sheets

in a humid post-sexual daze.

My hand’s on your hip’s point;

you turn away on your side.  We’re adrift

in the tense, terrible afterfuck silence

of a long relationship that’s about run out,

wound down to its dead-end,

when a single word may send one pebble downhill,

and I’m not ready for the avalanche

that both of us know will come.


They must have come ripe

all at once.

No wind

but a single sludgy pop, then another,

then the sound of muffled hammers;

then silence again.

I rouse myself and put my chin

on the windowsill at the head of the bed.

The tree is bare of fruit.

The backyard is lumpy

and marbled with pears,

where they fell,

split and splattered,

oozing emerald, celadon and jade,

mahogany stones scattered,

green leathery rags of peel.

I slide back down,

turn over on my stomach

look toward you,

wanting to explain.

You’re sleeping now

still on your side, rocking, solitary

in the reciprocance of breath.

Leave it.

No need to explain.

Leave it.

Someone will clean up

the mess.

Or not.




David Kann is a refugee from the world of academic administration who found his way back to poetry a few years ago and (re)discovered that he felt more like himself writing than he did most other times. So he worked at it and was accepted into the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he received an M.A.  His poetry has been published in such journals Stoneboat and The Sierra Nevada Review.  

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