Home > Poetry > Portrait Detail, with Pear
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Portrait Detail, with Pear

Ants have razed the paradise of the pear,
_     _regiments summoned by a mighty singing
_     __     _through cracks you can’t see in the floorboards.
The time was ripe for their enthusiasm,
_     _their sense of business and industry,
_     __     _the waving of their antennae like flags,
_     __     __     _their trails across the plane of Formica.

The corpse will soon cave beneath its own weight.
_     _Its yellow hips have started to pucker,
_     __     _mottled by a few improvised brushstrokes
where the delicate skin has sugared through.
_     _What a shame there’s no color to convey
_     __     _the exquisite perfume of this sagging.
_     __     __     _It’s really too soggy to handle, but if

you hoist it from the saucer anyway,
_     _the pear hangs on, like magnet to metal,
_     __     _suctioned for a moment by what it drained
in the long hurry to decimate itself:
_     _this amber-colored crescent of syrup
_     __     _enriched by the carcass of one lost ant,
_     __     __     _last cognac of vanilla, blood and myrrh.

Christopher Bakken is the author of two collections of poetry and is co-translator of a collection of Greek poetry by Titos Patrikios. He teaches at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. (updated 6/2010)

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