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
“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.