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Second Bearing, 1919
I have asked him to tell it–how
he heard the curing barn took hours
to burn, the logs thick, accustomed
to heat–how, even when it was clear all
was lost, the barn and the tobacco
fields with it, they threw water
instead on the nearby peach tree,
intent on saving something, sure,
though, the heat had killed it, the bark
charred black. But in late fall, the tree
broke into bloom, perhaps having
misunderstood the fire to be
some brief, backward winter. Blossoms
whitened, opened. Peaches appeared
against the season–an answer,
an argument. Word carried. People
claimed the fruit was sweeter for being
out of time. They rode miles to see it.
He remembers my grandfather
saying, his mouth full, this is
a sign, and the one my father
was given to eat–the down the same,
soft as any other, inside
the color of cream, juice clear
as water, but wait, wait; he holds
his cupped hand up as though for me
to see again there is no seed,
no pit to come to–that it is
infertile, and endless somehow.