Contributor Series 8: Feast and Famine
By Joseph Harker
In our private mythology, they are a far-off tribe,
the great-aunts and -uncles, the second cousins and
relations whose status is still unknown. Once upon a time,
they were snowbirds who traded winter in their joints
for alligator country. For fountains lined with moss,
sand between their toes. We don’t visit much anymore
but the memory remains.
And the tribute from their distant country
arrives on our doorstep in the dead of December,
when the world has bleached itself of color.
A plain brown box. Treasure chest.
Pry it open: and into our heartland which was
muddy and grey, tangled with dead tree limbs,
the commotion of innocent tangerines
the thick-bodied Navels their eunuch cousins
the auric giants’ eyes of grapefruit
each with its own particular scent
clambering for attention. We have had enough
of wrapping paper and gift receipts and milk chocolate.
Instead take the colors of your southern paradise,
that our bleak afternoons have forgotten. Roll them
and nestle the like soft fantastic eggs. We would
suggest a new proverb about the spirit of giving,
but we are too busy
enjoying the satisfaction of thumbnail lifting peel,
of sunlight rejoicing on the tongue.
Joseph Harker’s most recent poem to appear at vox poetica was Zubaidah in March 2010.