Cemetery Plums

 Jim Tolan


One who would offer ripe fruit to the dead

as if knowing their desires, as if believing

desires still lived in them, would know

how tangible remains the memory of its juice


across the mouth and chin and sliding

along the tongue. Do not be misled.

The dead miss life more than we miss them,

their loss more than equal to our forgetting


and our grief. And a bowl of fruit offered

in their name returns to them as the memory

of a mouth rapt in joy around moist and living

flesh. Who among the dead does not long


for the sun-wet meat of smooth-skinned plums,

the bitter sweetness of each pitted heart?