FECUNDITY, BY Anna Sandy-Elrod
Outside the house of my marriage,
discarded fruit pits dot the grass, hot
against my bare feet. My fingers,
cherry-stained dark, check for ripening
in the figs, the small, clean berries —
blackberries, raspberries, a few wild
strawberries — & I exalt in the lush
of what I’m growing here, sticky
& overheated. I shouldn’t write love
& expect it to speak, but as a child,
I knew it by its lack: the sweet rot
of plums on our driveway, oozing
beneath my toes, the way it smelled
of sugar & vinegar, how my mother
spoke words of affection just before
the flat backs of her hands hit my cheeks,
how she’d say your dad doesn’t love
you; he wouldn’t have left me if he did
as if I had held their marriage in my palms
& let it fall. I grew larger, then smaller,
fructuous, then curled in. I let my body,
bruised & soft, unlearn what love isn’t.
I am years older & my husband eats honey
from my fingers, tongues bits of peach
flesh from the corner of my mouth.
Last night, we walked the streets at dusk,
picking plums before they fell.
Anna Sandy-Elrod is a PhD poet and Editor of Birdcoat Quarterly, as well as Ghost Peach Press. Her work can be found in places like the North American Review, Threepenny Review, Green Mountains Review, Fugue, Calyx, and others. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, three cats, and one tiny dog.