The night I ate that peach
was thick with summer rainstorm.
If anyone was out in the street
under my window
they had cat-feet and no breath.
The peach was the only prize fruit
in a basket of organic castoffs—
all weedy with stems and bug-bit skins,
leaves covering their prettiest sides.
I snuck it from the kitchen,
and half-drank its sweetness down.
The bared pit, like a skeletal beech-leaf,
gleamed brown as a nut,
not a bed of arsenic.
I cleaned it off in the bathroom sink,
with a fresh toothbrush.
Put it on a saucer on my desk,
under the windowsill,
where it sat for some time.
I oiled it, sometimes, when it grew dry.
As I wrestled with college papers,
I taught it to curse with me.
On a supply of nothing but baby oil
and a window view,
the pit cracked open and sprouted—
a child with black eyes
taking up too much of its head.
I was very drunk when I came home
and found him.
The baby looked at me without blinking,
greenish arms curled in against him,
like the twin leaves of a peach.
“Damn!” he repeated
when I threw up beside him,
in my wastepaper bin.
The next morning,
the pit was still cracked open,
(his tiny arms couldn’t do that
—did his head butt it apart?)
I spent too long hunting
in the corners of my room, in my underwear,
for what I’d seen in the street-lamp dark.
“Taro,” I told the gone peach-baby,
“You’re a better man than me,
leaving home like this.”
The halves still lie apart, on their saucer,
like the crudest Fabergé carving.
They stay dead under the window,
and I forget to leave them oiled,
dried to nothing but the pit of a peach.