The Sweetest Fruit

The sweetest fruit comes latest—
After September has tanned the butternut’s skin,
Its belly swollen with fertility by August heat,
Even after frost has nipped creases and sugar into the kale.
Suffering too much heat and too much cold 
Seems required for succulent maturity.
Here in this cold climate,
The tomato vine doesn’t give up her ripest fruit 
Until she can see her own end.

So don’t mourn the swift green of spring—
Forget about the heavy work of growing summer.
This is the season of delights—
The time for deep flavors on the tongue
For slow-grown fruitfulness,
Heavy in both your hands.
Now we store up for the long winter
Everything we ever needed—
The odalisque-soil has given her rich breath
To serve her lord, the sun.


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