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American Persimmon

Issue 98, Fall 2017

“Cheetos Fingers,” by Lindsay Metivier,

I have tried to carry a persimmon home,

to share one fruit. I passed the tree running, 

a pursuit which allows no pockets, no bags.
Needs no equipment. No team.

I was many miles away,
and could not clench my fist.

I told myself to hold my hands like good men
every time they choose not  

to use their strength. 
But a good persimmon 

is already halfway to ruin. 
A ripe fruit falls,

wrinkled and dark.
Too fragile to bear reaching the ground, 

it bursts. Too fragile to bear touch, 
the skin of the fruit I gathered

skidded off. Pulp pushed past 
my knuckles’ best intentions. 

Men can be considered good
for what they don’t do. How small

of a taken action could be a saving 
grace then? I tried again, another day,

dropping a persimmon in the emptiness
between my breasts.

Home, undressed, 
there was only a sweaty smear 

no man could find sensuous.
Some things are best

enjoyed alone. Some things can only be 
enjoyed alone. 

And so, this morning, I eat right 
on the roadside, picking grit from fruit’s soft insides. 

Across town, my husband sleeps. 
Around the world, the hungry and sleepless.  

Here, my fingers so sugared 
I can’t suck them clean.

Rose McLarney reads “American Persimmon”


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Rose McLarney

Rose McLarney has published two collections of poems, Its Day Being Gone—winner of the National Poetry Series—and The Always Broken Plates of Mountains. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences, and has received numerous awards, including the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry. She teaches creative writing at Auburn University.