Sweet Evocations by Kathryn Duroseau

Sweet Evocations

My mother talks to me about college while I’m looking outside the window at the blackberry bush and memories arise.

My grandmother, Mimi, is cutting us mangoes, their skin flushed from the ever giving sun, the promise of golden sweetness within.

That summer has been going by so fast, in a blur of cherry and juniper green.

My sister and I share a punnet of berries in my bed and the sunlight plants us in this moment.

I take my time to smell the mango in the kitchen and to taste the strawberries Papi has been growing in his garden.

Mimi’s wrinkled hands are scattered with lines and sunspots that remind me of yellow freckled bananas; she is ripe now.

I stand on my toes peeking at the baby. My aunt finally comes home after spending days in the hospital. She comes closer to me and reveals a little head with pink cheeks.

I love oranges and how they give their fragrance to the air. I always ask Mimi to give me some, ignite memories of sun-kissed summer days.

In the mornings, I cut apple slices into moon shapes, to feel like a child but I eat the skin.

I am 8 years old grabbing my mom’s skirt and begging her to let me spend the spring days with Papi because it meant planting runner beans, courgettes and more.

My sister and I are running, our feet kissing the land, laughing and screaming.

My knees always looked like pomegranates. That’s what Papi tells me while cleaning the blood off of them and gently patting them.

I can see my grandparents dancing together under the silver moon. I believed what kept them young at heart was the purity of the Martinican’s light and how it gave them the gift of dance.

My sister and I are not yet grown, soft as a peach’s flesh.

When I think back, that summer is like bruised blackberries , syrupy and imperfect and so full that the juice bursts and drips down my chin.

by Kathryn Duroseau

Editor’s Note: The poet called this poem a zuihitsu, and true to the form, the fragmented chaos of each stanza evokes a delightful resonance with both essay and imagery, granting the reader a cohesive snapshot of a life.

2 thoughts on “Sweet Evocations by Kathryn Duroseau

  1. I love the nostalgia and tender writing that evokes such a sweet time, but never becomes maudlin. I like the consistency of the narrator’s voice, how easy it is to like it. Just a terrific poem.

    Like

  2. 1. What Christine says in the postscript. 2. What Bob Bradshaw says in his comment above. 3. It could go without saying, but I am stunned by the ingenuous clarity of each stanza, each a haiku- (see the penultimate stanza!) or tanka-esque denouement unto itself. What threads through them and binds them into a moving reflection on a snapshot life, is the essence of poetry, evoked rather than analyzed or proofed.

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