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.