fixed

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Idée Fixe
Catherine Barnett

No woman wants to be low-hanging fruit,
my glamorous girlfriend says, but I’m indiscriminate
and love all fruit, I’m tempted to list each kind
right here, in and out of season,
because even just saying the names gives me pleasure,
as does saying your name.
I’m not alone with my passion — my whole family,
we’re a little off in this regard,
we can spend hours talking about cantaloupe
or arguing over how many flats to buy
when it’s Peach-O-Rama at the Metropolitan.
Once I even drove half a day to get to Pence Orchards
where I met and took photos of Bert Pence,
who sold me three boxes of peaches at wholesale prices.
He was so good to me, as was the late-summer freestone
I picked as I walked back through the orchard
in the August heat to the entrance gates,
which were nothing like the Gates of Hell.
On the contrary, I was in heaven there in Yakima.
I can still smell that single peach, which was profusely
low-hanging, it was the definition of low-hanging,
it fell into my hands, as you did —
or perhaps as I did into yours —
but that was months ago.
When I walked past the stands yesterday,
on what should have been the first day of spring,
all produce had been covered with heavy blankets
to keep it warm, to mitigate harm.
Today the temperature dropped so low
someone thought to remove the fruit entirely and stash it away.
With this strange weather we’re having, will I see you again?
I can’t help myself.

epistemology

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Epistemology
Catherine Barnett

Mostly I’d like to feel a little less, know a little more.
Knots are on the top of my list of what I want to know.
Who was it who taught me to burn the end of the cord 
to keep it from fraying?
Not the man who called my life a debacle, 
a word whose sound I love.
In a debacle things are unleashed.
Roots of words are like knots I think when I read the dictionary.
I read other books, sure. Recently I learned how trees communicate, 
the way they send sugar through their roots to the trees that are ailing. 
They don’t use words, but they can be said to love. 
They might lean in one direction to leave a little extra light for another tree.
And I admire the way they grow right through fences, nothing
stops them, it’s called inosculation: to unite by openings, to connect 
or join so as to become or make continuous, from osculare
to provide with a mouth, from osculum, little mouth.
Sometimes when I’m alone I go outside with my big little mouth
and speak to the trees as if I were a birch among birches.