To my love,
You’re probably wondering about the box
on your kitchen table.
A few weeks ago, when the January winds
shook the walls of your small cottage, and threatened
to topple the big pine,
we lay in your bed watched QI
and talked about
summer peaches and Stephen Fry,
and walks to Rainbow Falls.
With the wind,
came the cold, and by morning, snow;
the air was still and the earth covered in frost.
So, I undertook to buy fresh peaches from Buenos Aires,
and have them flown,
no matter the cost,
special delivery, across continents,
five thousand nine hundred miles to home,
so we could eat fresh peaches and chocolates
by our winter fire.
Four of these golden orbs arrived,
delivered by the UPS driver with snow
clinging to her black polished boots,
and a Pullman brown scarf tied around her neck.
I opened the box:
Summer spilled out.
Summer with bluest skies and mountain hikes,
Summer with warmest days and starry nights,
Summer with a chest of cold beer and a backyard grill,
Summer with tomatoes ripening on the windowsill.
Everything that came from that box recalled school vacations and baseball.
I could feel the sun on my face, and so,
I ate one of the peaches, my love.
As I bit into that soft, ripe flesh,
juice dribbled down my chin,
I was lost in lustful, greedy consumption.
Lost in that moment of tension just before the protective layer gives way
to the blast of fruit beneath.
Lost as the sweetness burst through the fuzzy skin.
I had another – oh, the bliss!
The peach’s delicate candied meat lay on my tongue,
and peaches filled my mind:
Peach pie, peach ice cream, peaches and cream
Peaches, peaches, peaches.
I had a third.
I could taste the country in that southern-grown fruit – the plains of Argentina,
the hot sun beating down.
I imagined gauchos astride cavalos, their bolas swinging in the air,
and after a long day of driving and herding cattle,
they would return to their camp to feast on peaches.
Peaches and wine!
Peaches and chocolate!
Peaches, peaches, peaches!
And then there was only one peach.
It was a lonely ball sitting in its bed of South American straw,
yellow with a fauve of red,
a shriveled brown stem peeking above mounds of fruit
with a tiny, forgotten remnant of a leaf lying in the chaff.
I ate that last one too.
So, now I’ve gone off to labor,
leaving you in the cottage with your work and chatty neighbor,
as the January snow falls on the sidewalk and ice clings
to the old wooden stairs
leading down to the avenue.
You will open the small box on your kitchen table,
and find nothing but pits.
All that remains of my intentions
of summer fruit and long walks,
of a taste of sunshine in the dark of winter,
of a taste of summer when flowers are asleep and the grass lies dormant,
of chocolates and peaches.
And in this note I confess to you,
the chocolates, my love, I ate them too.
Scott Jessop lives in the 135-year old, haunted Midland Railroad station in Manitou Springs, Colorado with his daughter, Kathleen and his cat, Jack Kerouac. He is a corporate video and TV commercial producer, author, poet, and spoken word performer. Jessop’s work has appeared in more than a dozen publications including The Red Earth Review, Brickplight, New Verse News, Peaches Lit, and 300 Days of Sun. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominated author.