Poet of the Week: Chiyuma Elliott

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Fruit Tree

If we are at war let the orchards show it,
let the pear and fig fall prior to their time,
let the radios die
–Katie Ford, “Our Long War”

and let there be an ominous quiet—
wide, frozen rivers—
let’s walk across inadvisably,
wearing the wrong shoes.
Let spring come. Let the rivers thaw,
let the silt swirl just a little
as we wade in again;
let there be a spell for this
that looks like gingham.
My friend married into a family
with acres and acres of almonds,
she’s happiest when they blossom,
before the days get too hot.
Her beloved can also drive a tractor,
but here’s the difference: futility.
Let there be a spell to make everything
seem miniature and discordant;
no, that would be redundant.
Let there be a deep pit. Let there be one light
at the top, a tiny circlet of sky,
and handholds, footholds.
Let there be also a surfeit of kindness.
The thin daytime moon shivering from kindness,
the air spangled, the streets littered with it.
Let there be monuments to each and every kindness
as the grain ran out, and after, when Stalin said
the peasants were starving themselves
to bring down the state. Dear one,
let me remember you and them simultaneously,
and say amen and wonder at this pile of hours.


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