Monday, December 14, 2009

Issei Strawberry

By David Mura

Taste this strawberry, spin it in motion
on the whirl of your tongue, look west
towards Watsonville or some other
sleepy California town, spit
and wipe your sleeve across
your mouth, then bend down again, dipping
and rising like a piston, like fire, like a swirling
dervish, a lover ready to ravish this harvest, this
autumn of thirty-one or eight or nine, years
when, as everyone declines
around you, as swing and Capra redefine
an American dream, as some are deferred and some
preferred, and some complain, and some confer
and strike, and are stricken, are written
out of history, you have managed your own
prosperity, a smacking ripeness on the vine, acres
and acres you mine as your own, as your children's
whose deed it is, knowing you own nothing
here, you're no one here
but your genes, the ones who spit back
so readily in English on their tongues, tart
and trickier, phrases that blow past
you, winking, even as they
sink in, you're losing
them, you're gaining a harvest, a country, a future
so much to lose when, in biting your tongue,
the red juice flows between your teeth
with the strawberries
of loam and sweat, of summers in the valley
when you made it before the war had come.

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