Cherries

Rocked in my mother’s pregnant amble,
and born into forty-five years in the dark,
the egg this child was also swayed in the arts
of lovers I took before you, fed with me
 
in the public markets of Baltimore and Denpasar
on oysters and rambutan, woke with me each year
to new waves of wander, fish and flower,
liqueur of each region, and bread of each village,
 
each cup of moonlight in the long sward
between my window and the Wannsee.
The egg he was heard and voices
of everyone I desired and held itself
 
in some deep hormonal bloom,
taking whatever was remarkable
in my life into its possibility.
We learned not to hurry in Balinese rain,
 
to listen for the rumble of wild boar
in the Malvan woods. We climbed
into planes bound for cities we’d never
visit again and skin we’d summon
 
with sobbing. And so, my husband,
as you dream of owning this child,
remember that he has ridden in my fire,
bathed in my blood, and sipped
 
at the breath I drew the first
time I saw what Rodin had clawed
from stone before he turned from Claudel
and went home for dinner and a clean shirt.
 
Remember that this child is collage
of everything before you, frangipani
and escargot, five-for-a-dollar boxes
of macaroni, and French cherries
 
from an old woman in Auvergne
who insisted on the gift
because it was so marvelous
to see a woman traveling alone.


Leslie Adrienne Miller, “Cherries” from The Resurrection Trade. Copyright © 2007 by Leslie Adrienne Miller. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org
Source: The Resurrection Trade (Graywolf Press, 2007)
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