The woman standing in the Whole Foods aisle
over the pyramid of fruit, neatly arranged
under glossy lights, watched me drop
a handful into a paper bag, said how do you do it?
I always have to check each one.
I looked down at the dark red fruit, each cherry
good in its own, particular way
the way breasts are good or birds or stars.
Doesn’t everything that shines carry its own shadow?
A scar across the surface, a worm buried in the sweet flesh.
Why not reach in, take whatever falls into your hand.
I have been listening to Danusha Laméris the past few weeks, as she co-hosts with James Crews a series called Poetry of Resilience, delighting in her delight with poetry and discovering new poems. There was a passing reference to this one last week, written some years ago, so I looked for it and now want to share my pleasure with you.
Be it Whole Foods or some other grocery store, have you not exchanged a brief comment with a stranger over some food you are both considering? I can imagine the woman’s how do you do it? curious to see someone take cherries by the handful when she herself feels the need to check each one. This then causes the poet to reflect on how each cherry, to her, is good in its own, particular way / the way breasts are good or birds or stars.
Such a generous perspective, that everything has its own light and shadow, that there may be a scar, a worm buried in the sweet flesh and it is all good. Therefore, Why not reach in, take whatever falls into your hand. Why not, she seems to be asking us, receive all of it, the shine, the blemish, no need to look only for perfection. Kind of like life, don’t you think?