A Fruit Basket
I won it
at this year’s garden party raffle,
afterall, this is the sort of village
where fine fruit is prized above
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
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.
Previously published in The Learned Goose by Jo Brandon (Valley Press, 2015)