To the Woman Eating on the Eastbound Midtown Direct by Mary Brancaccio
On 01/16/2015 | 4 Comments
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Editor’s note: This month, we asked Minerva Rising contributors: What comforts you? 
Conversely, what doesn’t comfort you? Tell us what you find solace in, or what you’ve removed from your life.

After the loss of my mother, I had a strangely comforting experience while commuting home one evening. Here’s the poem I wrote about that experience:

To the Woman Eating on the Eastbound Midtown Direct

Scent of your pear — nectar, August light —

conjures my mother at True Value in Shallotte,

as she chats up the man with the bumper crop.

Right off, she buys two-dozen jars,


pectin & drives to his farm in her old Caddie to pick fruit.

Like Ruth gleaning scythe-cut fields, she gathers

a trunk load of the fallen — not the split-skin orbs,

but ripe ones sleeping in wet grass.


That Christmas, she gifts us jars of jam.

I wrap mine in diapers when I fly to London,

where the taste of summer cracks the frost grip

of winter’s deprivations in my bone-cold flat.


Thank you for your pear, for your ready gratitude,

how you cupped it in your hands and ate deeply to its core.

Mary Brancaccio is a poet and teacher. She lives in South Orange, NJ.

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Emily Shearer Posted 01/16/2015 at7:11 PM   Reply

I want to cup this poem in my hands and eat deeply of its core. It is so vivid. Thank you for sharing these comfort-laden verses, for rendering your grief into poetry, for a whiff of August light in the depths of winter.

Jane Seitel Posted 01/18/2015 at12:58 AM   Reply

Such sweetness & glimmers of light awaken in me the ancient and the moment, the feast shared in the language of what is gathered & what is given.

Beth Browne Posted 01/22/2015 at9:16 PM   Reply

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Just beautiful.

Robin Worgan Posted 01/26/2015 at3:20 PM   Reply

This poem is sensual and delicious. I can see and feel and taste so much. Thank you.

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