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David Cazden
Bradford Pears,

Bradford pears,

my wife says,
are planted only for show,
cracking in even the slightest storm.

In fall, their inedible fruit
encrusts the curbs, the driveway and cars,
in rinds so bitter even starlings

spit them out on the wing.
Yet like all round things
they desire only to shine, to fall

in a field, letting soft flesh slough away
over black crescent seeds.
We lose a few every year

to an ice storm or gale
for something terrible always happens
to the most fragile. In February

when starlings squawk,
picking over the limbs,
flapping raincoats over the snow

we forget how they'll turn –
Near March, our anniversary,
after my wife's

read every gardening catalog
full of exotic flowers,
piled on the table, we're always surprised

when the trees explode into bloom.
Though a step slower, I work
in the yard. For one week

pears illuminate the neighborhood,
petals swaying like lanterns, shining
just under our skin.

(First published in Redactions: Poetry and Poetics)

David Cazden received an Al Smith Fellowship for poetry from the Kentucky Arts Council in 2008. He is the author of one book, Moving Picture (Word Press, 2005) and lives in Lexington.

 

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