Under the Charleston Sun

My fruit is anything but strange

It is a default, ‘flesh-colored’ meat, with primly folded hands

It sprouts a pale flower on a nightshade vine

Against a transgressive slate of unworthy stars

 

My fruit is a white star wafting from a grey-scaled root

My peel carries a translucent insult

Under the yellow-budded melon of July

Sprouts green gashes under tempered glass

 

My fruit got picked before ripening

Forgot protocol after lashing red blooms in artful stripes

My cotton bulb is a red fountain pen with claws — its ledger

Juicing yellow venom under fresh pastoral suns

Like new-money’s manners — gallant, blank, preening

 

My fruit blooms rust — from cracked tar husks with rings,

The doors of whisky halls, the ends of gun barrels

It is not afraid to walk at night, to be alone

 

My fruit grows magnolia in alleyways, scales buildings

Steals songs, instruments, dark-worried-notes

 

My fruit trades ripe bodies for dirt, carts them off

In wagons, stacks them in ships and sepia clapboard boxes,

Stores them inside sugar-shotgun-shacks with bars

Waiting for them to rot on the vine — 

Under ivy chains, hungry wisteria mouths

Feeding the fruit-carcasses, as corn meal to flies

 

My blue-forked river-fruit bleeds honey from its pulp

Rolls leaves of tobacco in thick black bunches

And is not ashamed

It does not remember lighting a fire at dawn,

Blooming a cave of

Equine, elk, and bison, in its own red hands

Does not remember marching backward into an orange fertile

Crescent — pale rind tanning to a seasoned black

 

My fruit winds up white pillared porches lit with fireflies blinking S.O.S.

Wraps itself in poplar, candles burning, windows blacked

 

Young men sleep, blue in the fruit of my weeping branches,

Drop heavy from the raven’s mouth – seeds fallen –

Liquid onyx, into the moonlit grass

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