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Remember when Whole Foods bottled
asparagus water and sold it at six bucks
a pop? Everyone knew the price
was a crimethough some had
never seen a garden in the wild.
My grandfather grew tomatoes that tasted
like whole summer afternoons rolling
in freshly cut grass with my cousins.
His tomatoes were handfuls of sweet
salted earth in your mouth. I have
an old photograph of him, holding
a giant watermelon in both arms
and me standing under it squinting,
twisting the hem of a little blue dress
I would sully with juice so succulent
the faded places in your heart
would fill with red. The crunch                   
and slush of melon like cool evening
rain on your tongue, seeds like dark
stars in the bittersweet thrill of the rind.
There were Mason jars glowing
like old neon signs: fireflies
captured and held for an evening.
And yes, there was water, an ice-cold
creek my grandfather dammed for his
catfish. Did you ever lie still and look
into the eyes of a white-whiskered fish?
And when was the last time the world
stuffed you so full of wonder you missed
the dinner bell, the dying light,
the soft, insistent ping of the register,
the doe-eyed checkout girl repeating,
did you find everything you were looking for?

Stacey Forbes’ poem “Speaking of trees” won first place in the 2021 Plough Poetry Prize. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Carve, Split Rock Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Blue Mountain Review, and Barren. Born in the white birch woods of Pennsylvania, Stacey now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

© 2022, Stacey Forbes

One comment on “Polaroid of a girl from Pennsylvania, by Stacey R. Forbes

  1. kwarinsky says:

    Love this so much. Each description so apt…how the wonder feels.


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