It has been millennia since I last ate you. How did I dare, today, breaking the spell?
Your stem neatly detached by a twist of my fingers, your thick flesh with its sparkly aftertaste exploding on tongue, your pit so very small that for lack of practice I’m scared of swallowing it… I have missed a fruit in my mouth, especially a fruit like you.
Almost for a lifetime I’ve shied away, fearing a secret threat you concealed under gracious smoothness, under naïve alegria. Innocent, are you?
You came in brown bags, paper satchels. You came timely, on season, and we waited for you: late May, early June. After the roses bloomed for the Virgin Mary, you wrapped up the sensuality of spring in a bloody sap, precursor of luscious summer, of apricot, peach and plum prodigality.
You appeared: velvety, dense – a queen dressed up for a court dance, but your size made you childish. Cheerful ballerina: hand in hand with rosy-cheeked playmates twirling in brazen tutus. Caroling, playing hide and seek in a maze of dark leaves.
Ladder pushed against the trunk, basket hanging across a branch, neck bent backward I gazed up, my eyes lost in a crimson orgy. Happiness was too large for my shrinking heart: cherries, I’ve left you behind, just where I left myself.
I don’t know who kept going after the split. Who lived in my name.
But it wasn’t me.
Toti O’Brien’s work has appeared in Synesthesia, Wilderness House, The Harpoon Review and Litro NY, among other journals and anthologies.