Pear Tree

Pear Tree
The house

At 726 Rutger Street

Had an old pear tree in the back yard
Trunk twisted,

Like God had reached down

And spun the body while the roots were set
Its boughs were

Knobby and rough barked

Like an old washerwoman’s hands

Arthritic and chapped
Every spring

The leaves would wear a mantilla

Of virginal white flowers

Heralding nature’s return to life 
Soon enough, the flowers would be

Cast adrift on the wind

Or rain

And snowy teardrops would

Litter the lawn all around its base

Like a ball gown

Spread wide
Then the fruit came in

Plentiful and curvy

Green then yellow

Attracting droves of

Humming buzzing bees

Who got drunk on the nectar

And those pears never got quite sweet enough to eat

Before they’d fall, unpicked, 

To the ground,

To bruise and rot and feed the earth
When I decided to plant a garden,

I chose the area all around that lovely tree
I muscled a heavy, loud machine

Into the sod,

Tearing up the grass and the wild chives

To show all of the rich black-brown

Soil beneath

Over and over again

I’d drag the tiller to loosen the earth

And create a happily

Rounded space 

(I can not follow a straight line, so I opt

Not to even try)

That included my pear tree
I planted plum tomatoes, cherry peppers,

Long hots, eggplant, zucchini,

And, most importantly,

Parsley & basil
They loved the pear tree’s feet and grew

Plentifully in the shade there
My grandfather-in-law, Pops,

Whom I loved above all others in the family

(Including my ex, truth be told)

Would visit my garden 

And he was so proud of my basil
He’d pick it and share it with my 


With my mother-in-law,

So she could make pesto cubes,

Probably with other little old men

He’d meet to make

Dandelion wine

And talk about

The good old days

So long ago.
There were many summer days

When I’d escape manic episodes 

And depression over my marriage 

From launching me clear into the


By digging my fingers and toes

Firmly into the loam

As I yanked invading weeds

And talked to my plants.
My dogs, George & Audrey,

Grew up from puppies beside that garden,

Beneath that tree,

Digging troughs between sunflowers

To lay their white furred bellies 

In the cool depths.
My ex-husband

Has gotten rid of the dogs and even our

3-legged cat Mookie which 

He refused to let me take

When I moved out.

And he’s repainted the house,


Though oddly enough

She’s blonde

And her name is Jennifer.
I wonder if he’s taken down

My beloved sheltering tree

In an attempt to exorcise 

My settled soul

Fertilizing the ground I once planted.


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