The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer

           Fredonia, NY

Of course I regret it. I mean there I was under umbrellas of fruit
so red they had to be borne of Summer, and no other season. 
Flip-flops and fishhooks. Ice cubes made of lemonade and sprigs 
of mint to slip in blue glasses of tea. I was dusty, my ponytail
all askew and the tips of my fingers ran, of course, red

from the fruitwounds of cherries I plunked into my bucket
and still—he must have seen some small bit of loveliness
in walking his orchard with me. He pointed out which trees
were sweetest, which ones bore double seeds—puffing out
the flesh and oh the surprise on your tongue with two tiny stones

(a twin spit), making a small gun of your mouth. Did I mention
my favorite color is red? His jeans were worn and twisty
around the tops of his boot; his hands thick but careful, 
nimble enough to pull fruit from his trees without tearing
the thin skin; the cherry dust and fingerprints on his eyeglasses. 

I just know when he stuffed his hands in his pockets, said
Okay. Couldn't hurt to try? and shuffled back to his roadside stand
to arrange his jelly jars and stacks of buckets, I had made
a terrible mistake. I just know my summer would've been
full of pies, tartlets, turnovers—so much jubilee. 

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer" from Miracle Fruit.  Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.  Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press, www.tupelopress.org. 
More Poems by Aimee Nezhukumatathil