1 min read

At the raw end of winter

they could no longer wait through Spring

to take their melancholy daughter

to some lush summered place

where there was nothing to do

but float through sun-soaked days

or pick fruit in a grove

unlike their own crisp orchard.

It was dense, so sweet and hot

one could hardly breathe.

The trees-formidable as pregnant Amazons-

bung thick leaves clear to the ground,

hid utterly the heavy fruit.

They hesitated,

then sent their only child up

into the dark interior.

Her slim legs (the last part to disappear) thrashed,

found footing, flushed a swallow-tailed butterfly

into bright light.

It lurched through liquid air,

simply drunk on the stuff,

resettled higher up.

They caught the swollen fruit tossed out one at a time

sticky, soiling their hands with black like newsprint

from smudge pots set to protect the trees

through their own hard winter.

"Enough," they finally called and watched

her emerge, an idealized vision of a chimney sweep.

Grinning. Her exhausted face streaked.