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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas

It is a dark and captivating fruit. Sour when it should be sweet. Oddly
fleshy inside. Sensuous. Like an object conjured in a dream I would be
reluctant to discuss. Like those sins that still feel so good, ripening at the
edges of the mind. I travel to a province where they grow. It takes two
days. I arrive at night and check into a neon motel. I wake before dawn
and walk out to the orchards where the migrants have already begun to
pick. I watch them on their tripod ladders. Their children playing below,
speaking a language I do not understand. One of the workers gestures
toward me. Another pivots around. I nod and wave like a comrade. From
high in the tree someone tosses me a plum.

David Shumate has published two books of prose poems, The Floating Bridge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and High Water Mark (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004). His poetry has appeared widely in literary journals and has been anthologized in The Writer’s Almanac, Good Poems for Hard Times, and The Best American Poetry 2007. (updated 6/2010)

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