September 21, 2019

Article at Poetry Super Highway

Nectarines! It’s a Helluva Fruit

Juicy-warm from the sun, broiled with goat cheese
and honey, a must to bring my dad just to hear him
laugh, recite again from the Carl Reiner-Mel Brooks’
“2000-Year-Old-Man” records where a velvet-caped
Brooks, reveals he once dated Joan of Arc, was married
hundreds of times, had 42, 000 children and not one
came to visit!! “I don’t care. But they could send a note,
write, “Howya, pop?” True, Dad didn’t date Joan of Arc
but he did date Pearl, his memories kept in a thick album
of Kodak black and whites with their curvy edges slotted
into those triangled corner holders pasted on the grey
scrapbook pages with “Me and Pearl” captioned underneath.
Or, “Pearl and Me.” Or, my favorite, “Guess Who?”
That Mom had no compunctions about this totem
of his life before us said a lot about their marriage
til death did them part. My stepmother helped Dad
buy a new suit and tie to meet Pearl and her husband
for lunch following her surprise call. You know what
happened. Civil conversation. A longer ride home than
to the restaurant. The album remained on the bookshelf.
Dad didn’t even reach a century much less two millennia
yet to the end, smiled to see another fuzz-less peach,
that sweet nectar of summer, a nectarine, its tight smooth
skin not unlike Dad’s, with that signature blush of red.
I miss our calls. “Is this the writer, or the other one?”
he’d asked, to which I’d say, “Howya, Pop.”
“What’s the secret to your long life?” Reiner asks.
“Nectarines,” Brooks replies. “I love that fruit.
It’s a helluva fruit.”