In Tucson there is a lab
expressly dedicated to extracting
sunlight from pears,
which costs the pears their lives.
And still I envy them.
To have ears is to listen in terror
as the newsman gets it wrong.
Tolstoy did not say
all happy endings are alike!
From an infinity of possible beginnings
Tolstoy was born Tolstoy
and no one else, a man of genius
living a sumptuous, peasant life.
The thing to know is that his daughter
gave birth before she made it through
the orchard to the house.
It was only March, the orchard
already blooming pear
and the great man in his summer hut,
dressed as a Caucasian mountaineer,
just adjusting his impeccable scarlet hose,
didn’t hear her screaming
any more than the sun did,
spilling down her open throat.
Mother, child and Count
lived well long after that, of course,
but for this the newsman has no use.
In times way worse than these
pears were ornamental, plentiful
and nothing you could chew.
Just me and the groundhogs and the dogs.
And the longhorns making water across the road
and the woodpecker tapping out a message to the future
on the leftover phone pole, and the horsefly, all teeth,
and June bugs and June-bug-munching ducks and geese
and crows, and the neighbor’s colt trotting to the gate
for a sniff of my impoverished flesh,
and my white underpants and tennis shoes
snuggling in the clover, perfect strangers meeting
and loving quite unexpectedly, in the garden,
in the absence of the master of the house,
whose presence I know in every grapevine,
fence post, and shrub, while I see as much of these
as I do of him, my eyes shut tight against the star
we never tire of telling ourselves must feed
upon us, indifferent and voracious in having
all it has and nothing else.