Fruits of Adam
It was when a November chill nipped
The ponderosa lemons in bud
Fooled by the late warmth of a lingering Fall
That the wheels rolled his form
Prostrate and convulsing into the black van
With the red lights
Winter always seems to threaten here
But never really arrives
It licks the windshield with dissipating frost
Dissolving into a smear of road grime and dust
That’s Rio Grande weather
Dirt and rain
And unfulfilled hope
Red lights pelt the peeling row houses along the street,
People always look when the black car rolls down Adams Street;
Veiled dowagers dripping black rosaries
Finger their shiny beads while crossing themselves,
Futile invocations to a missing god–
Or maybe just prayers to ward off the devil’s eye;
The sound bleeds on through the declining day
The mulberry tree on the curb once bore red and blue,
Sour and bitter,
And dripped on parked cars;
its leaves leaned into the street.
The city cut it down not long after the red lights
Fearing this over indulgence of life
Would inconveniently fall onto the road
Disturbing strangers as they drove away
From the neighborhood.
Once the black car rolls
It harvests no fruit ,
Only the bitter juice of loss
Lingers on the lips.
Do the old ladies with their hollow prayers know
A father rides on that dark horse?
Was he low hanging fruit
Trimmed before he could do more damage?
Did his over indulgence inconvenience the world?
Did his imperfections warrant his early trimming?
The trees, long owned by strangers, are now stumps,
Their hollows filled with wild grass and thistles
David E. Cowen
All Rights Reserved