Julia C. Alter
ODE TO MY PLUM (12 WEEKS)
Your eyes have migrated
to the front of your head,
gentle clenched seed pods.
I swim every morning, diving
into the unwieldy weightlessness of you.
My lips fleck with deep red blots, like stains
from stone fruit. Thin skin. Pregnancy
mask or luscious bruise-y kisses from beyond.
Our ancestors amongst plum trees, Oma
clipping on a helmet when she shook them
so the plums wouldn’t knock her out
as they cascaded. She collected them in baskets
to cook down with lemon zest and sugar,
to bake with butter and marzipan, to pour
as heavy batter into greased sheet pans.
This is just to say, we are rooted in women
who spent their days in aprons sweating
and trusting there was always a way
to coax more sweetness out of something.
Burying currants under meringue, spooning
vanilla cream onto wild strawberries.
Here you are, purple honey, teaching me
a new lexicon for delicious, a twinge
at the back of my jaw.