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by David Shumate

It is a dark and captivating fruit. Sour when it should be sweet. Oddly
fleshy inside. Sensuous. Like an object conjured in a dream I would be
reluctant to discuss. Like those sins that still feel so good, ripening at the
edges of the mind. I travel to a province where they grow. It takes two
days. I arrive at night and check into a neon motel. I wake before dawn
and walk out to the orchards where the migrants have already begun to
pick. I watch them on their tripod ladders. Their children playing below,
speaking a language I do not understand. One of the workers gestures
toward me. Another pivots around. I nod and wave like a comrade. From
high in the tree someone tosses me a plum.


David Shumate teaches English at Marian College in Indianapolis, Indiana. His prose poems have recently appeared in Mississippi Review, River City, Mid-American Review, Worcester Review, North American Review, Louisville Review, Atlanta Review, Maize, and on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. His first collection of prose poems, High Water Mark (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004), won the 2003 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize.

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