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December 2023

First Plums

Those plums, their summering, skin fleshy, deep

      purple and yellow, that first surprise bite,

the shiver of tart-tonguing, the longing 

      for more, and her gnawing need nursed bone-dry,

every juicy bit, until the pit crossed,

      blocked her throat, a strangling starfish, until

her father noticed, until he flipped her 

      upside down, swung her around, her burning

shoulders, how many thwacks, sharp intake of air,

      her startled cries. Breathe, he sobbed, please do breathe.

The tears, hers and his, running together. 

      For days, shoulders shook, shuddered, his and hers. 

For days, he watched her. For years she was lost

       to plums. He sank down and down. For years

he was too lost to save. She learned to eat 

      carefully, slowly. Taking her time.

Jeff Vollmer


Jeff Vollmer’s work has been published in Broken Plate, Cider Press Review, El Portal, Louisiana Literature, Neologism Poetry Journal, Open Ceilings, pioneertown, Pulp Poets Press, and Voices de la Luna. He lives with his wife, three kids, cat and dog in New York’s Hudson Valley. 


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