She went to gather
by Nellie Isabelle Steward Cooper
Fruit from the wild plum tree
that was uphill and hidden from the house
She was not wont to go there
When it was blossoming though
Something too disturbing in the
air- treacherous to her...........
But It was to make jelly that she climbed
So far, stopping on the steep
hillside at times to listen
For what was not there,
and feel what was vanished
She came to visit the dead-
as she gathered the ripe plums,
Not silent with the ghost
that was always there
Nor he with her....
Eating as he was each time
with such gusto
Such running rhapsodies,
Such eye-closing expressions,
as hint at secret worlds of savoring...
Nothing, nothing for him
surpassing this harvest,
And nothing for her surpassing
Always the final turning to her
He with faint wonder
'How can you not like them? '
It was because she has not yet
acquired a taste for bitterness she said......
Her head lay now a moment in the curve of his arm
Like the pressure of living, flesh against her shoulder
The plums hung heavy on her downhill jorney
Moving into shadow, careful of rocks
on the weed-entangled path
...... the plums
Safe now in the familiar kitchen:
And safe tomorrow in tomorrow's...... jars enclosed