For Lois Who Read Me The Li-Young Lee Poem

photo by Merimee

by Merimee Moffitt

That bright day toronjas not lemonade

fifty cents each, large and lumpy

picked from a Grandpa’s yard in Arizona

bursting with sweetness out of this world.

Remember the Hood River peaches hanging over the fence?

We rollicked in juice and hungry luck that day.

Ran across the fifty-years-ago highway and jumped into the Columbia

bobbing like fruit in a wash barrel.

And the day you parked your truck under the Bings

in that old filling station lot on the back road to Eugene?

I climbed atop the cab filling the looseness of my blouse

or was it my full skirt, with cherries so ripe,

so imperially rich, you sat fidgeting, beautiful you,

your chambray sleeves rolled up

afraid it wasn’t fair to get so much so easily,

you who grew up on a farm, knowing the cops hated

your hair and face and perfect body, hated my attitude

that we could take what we wanted as if the fruit gave permission.

The cherries were all we’d eat that day, living entirely outside the law.


And fifty years later, it’s grapefruits from Arizona

sold by darling girls, their brothers standing with toy swords

to protect them should la Migra happen by.

We can barely believe our good luck at these

golden globes of champagne-colored fruit, sold by

the children who believe in and practice protecting

their rights.

“For Lois . . .” was recently published in the Summer  2017 issue of Persimmon Tree, an online mag for, by, and about women 60 and older, in the Short Takes section.



About merimeemilhaupt

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