Ciruelo (Plum Tree)

Up on a high branch, ebony crows are at it;
Fighting amongst themselves over the plump, ripe fruits
That float in their own bright green firmament, flashing
Like palerindas falling from a piñata.

Can’t those birds see there is more than enough for all?
Such a wasted abundance that broken orbs squish
Up between my toes in the cool mornings as I
Move to water the strawberries and tomatoes.

As a murder alights in the sycamore shade,
I tire of the squall and squabble from above.
Plucking a ripe bullet from its stem, I marvel
At iridescent low-rider reds and purples.

I’ve chosen my weapon to fit its flawless form.
In the afternoon heat, the leather pocket smells
Of sacred summers, of baseball mitts, and sandals,
And even of old bears passing down on Castro Street.

The yellow surgical tubing pulls tight and sings,
Its potential energy not to be tied off.
Today our cause is righteous and with careful aim
And consideration for the wind, I let fly.

Bang! The neighbors’ car windshield takes the hit. No harm,
No foul; no one coming out, thank God. The cuervos
Grasp the sky in a black panic to continue
Their argument elsewhere. All is right. All is plum.


Published in California Quarterly, 2009, Vol. 35, No. 4


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