a poem – by me


A dear friend brought me
one hundred and eighty one plums.
She counted them.
Dark purple, dusky, Italian plums.
Blue plums. Prunes.

A huge responsibility, not wasting them –
I remembered this happened
to my mother –
suddenly a lug of plums in her possession.
She paid someone else to preserve them
in clear pint jars.
Canned plums are so 70s.

These don’t become juice –
Plum juice is the color of the sunset,
made from wild plums,
the jelly clear and rosy,
Sweet and tart.
This – no, this would be prune juice.

They don’t become pickles.
Fruit pickles are jewels in jars
green and pink
crisp and sugary
watermelon, pear, peach.
These –  no, these would be pickled prunes.

Delicious potential, to be only one thing:
Halved plums, pits torn from their centers,
Quarts of them –
My thumb turned brown as I sliced.
Butter, flour, eggs, sugar, cinnamon.
Plum cake.

Eight fit in the oven at once.
Enough plums to make
a dozen cakes,
plum flesh softened, baking,
no longer pale gold, the skins stain red.

Pflaumen Kuchen,
A cookie married to a pudding,
we ate one in minutes,
just a little slice, then another, and another.
The rest packed into the freezer,
each one a gift
waiting to be unwrapped.

photo by SMcGarnigle

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Liz Robinson says:

    Lovely, but when I saw the title it thought maybe you had decided to make prune whip. I used to love prune whip. It was a reason to eat whip cream flavored with sugar and vanilla with absolute abandon. Yum.

    My favorite stanza or part of stanza Plum juice is the color of the sunset, made from wild plums, the jelly clear and rosy,

    The plum jelly was so pretty!


    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Plum juice, made from the plums picked at Oakwood, was SO beautiful – and the jelly delicious.
      I’ve been struggling with making juice; I can’t seem to get it clear, even when I don’t touch it as it strains.
      Maybe I should try to find some chokecherries (and i agree with you about prune whip).

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