• In a world of separation, art connects

TODAY

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Peaches

 A crate of peaches straight from the farm

has to be maintained, or eaten in days.

Obvious, but in my family, they went so fast,

I never saw the mess that punishes delay.

 

I thought everyone bought fruit by the crate,

stored it in the coolest part of the house,

then devoured it before any could rot.

I’m from the Peach State, and to those

 

who ask But where are you from originally,

I’d like to reply The homeland of the peach,

but I’m too nice, and they might not look it up.

In truth, the reason we bought so much

 

did have to do with being Chinese—at least

Chinese in that part of America, both strangers

and natives on a lonely, beautiful street

where food came in stackable containers

 

and fussy bags, unless you bothered to drive

to the source, where the same money landed

a bushel of fruit, a twenty-pound sack of rice.

You had to drive anyway, each house surrounded

 

by land enough to grow your own, if lawns

hadn’t been required. At home I loved to stare

into the extra freezer, reviewing mountains

of foil-wrapped meats, cakes, juice concentrate,

 

mysterious packets brought by house guests

from New York Chinatown, to be transformed

by heat, force, and my mother’s patient effort,

enough to keep us fed through flood or storm,

 

provided the power stayed on, or fire and ice

could be procured, which would be labor-intensive,

but so was everything else my parents did.

Their lives were labor, they kept this from the kids,

 

who grew up to confuse work with pleasure,

to become typical immigrants’ children,

taller than their parents and unaware of hunger

except when asked the odd, perplexing question.

 

(Adrienne Su )

    

 



 


 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 


 


 


 

 




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The last update: December 2009.

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