1984, the years you stole.

26 Jun

stopped in the store, glaring white light

she cries “Mommy! Cherries!” and a moment a skip

I find myself swallowing bile and vomit and 20 plus years of

squeamish denial.


One hand in, one round fruit out. A perfect stem

stretches towards me. “This one is perfect!” she blurts.

I turn my head so the clenching will go unnoticed.


Inside, in the distance, an unfurling, unravelling.


I place the fruit singly in the bag, each contact

weighted down, a jolt, a bridge.

That day, any of those days that summer, somewhere

around 1984 and I had that red bathing suit with the

racer back and yellow straps, and sun shone a

chemical burn between those rotten apple trees.


Those days, pocketed in my hand the smell of him, the

taste of him his wetness and his burden on my face his fruit

passed between us.




They ask for them, the one fruit denied the thing

I couldn’t bear to look at, to listen about “Wow-look at these cherries” the

hurried wives and businesswomen would say “so lovely” under the 2.99/lb signs

while I

did my level best not to collapse and teeter around them,

my mouth turned to stem.


Thumbs bore inside as the kitchen light

shines off their edges, as the light of my daughters lies stark 

across them and I’m covered in it, the stain of them

bloody across my hands and fingertips those same

fingertips which opened that door and opened that drawer

filled to flowing with those bloody lush fruits.

Filled to flowing with that one particular torment. Filled to flowing with

his tongue down my mouth and cherries floating past, excuses.



my door holds the remnants

holds the last story, moldering inside clear.


They will not be eaten.

4 Responses to “1984, the years you stole.”

  1. sweetsalty kate June 26, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    you are so wise to write about this stuff. it’s so powerful, like you’re taking it back.

  2. misspudding June 26, 2008 at 9:26 pm #

    not that i could possibly feel what you felt but…

    this is an amazing poem.

  3. March June 27, 2008 at 6:45 am #

    such strength in your words, each resonating as is read.

  4. Bon June 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    i am late, late to this.

    it took my breath, both story and the richness of the poetry, the image of the cherries and the two children, you and your daughter, all these years apart. our scars can show as such mundane, beautiful things to other people.

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