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.
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.
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.