A Fruit Basket by Jo Brandon



Jo Brandon is based in West Yorkshire. Her pamphlet Phobia and full-length collection, The Learned Goose, are both published by Valley Press. Her next collection, Cures, is due out in 2020. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including The North, Magma, Popshot, Strix, Butchers Dog and The Fenland Reed. You can find her at www.jobrandon.com  

The Learned Goose is available to buy from  Valley Press.
























I won it

at this year’s garden party raffle,

afterall, this is the sort of village

where fine fruit is prized above

cellophane-wrapped chocolates

and cheap wine.


Cradled in a thick-woven wicker basket,

blanketed with muslin, tied with ribbon,

the kind you can put in a drawer

and use again. Pretty as a picture,

a shame really, to dismantle

and rummage.


Frog-skin melons nestle like eggs

in their straw lining, stony passion fruits,

a rudeness of pomegranates, green bananas;

a risk, could have spoilt the whole haul,

but they knew what they were about  

putting all this together, the pears are perfect,

ready to eat, kiwis moulting softly, lychees peek

between loll-draped limbs bearing grapes:

a bacchanalia of treats.


How many markets did they visit

to accrue all this?

I had only ever seen cucamelons on television,

never held one, cool in my palm, like this.

I have a tin of Jackfruit in my cupboard,

from last year’s tombola, nothing akin

to this tight-curled hedgehog of a thing.


Sweet, putrid, syrupy, olid – a durian bristles

like a giant conker; a vanitas perhaps?

I peel, chop, slice, stew the stillness from my hoard.

I would have chosen a few more familiars

were it my role to select the prizes this year;

punnets of berries from my garden,

oranges and grapefruits, things to simply start the day,

apples too, of course, a lemon and lime for garnish,

but I am the recipient, not the donor,

I will be gracious, no point getting the pip

when I have the pith.



Jo Brandon


Previously published in The Learned Goose by Jo Brandon (Valley Press, 2015)


The Fall by Jo Brandon