Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


What might be universally beautiful is hard to imagine,
perhaps only the sunrise and sunset,
perhaps the moon. If on earth

it might be cherries,
loved by the fierce and tender, eaten
by birds and foxes, and what humans don't take
are claimed by little green worms.

It's the time of year everyone stops what they're doing to eat them.
Pits bundled in animal scat nestle between cobblestones.
For these few weeks they gleam in every tree
the whole world seems not only edible but delicious.

Is there a pleasure in the mind like this simple sugar,
cherry joy--the whole mouth involved in

plucking the fruit from the resistant stem,
tongue, teeth, and lips cooperating in slipping the sweet flesh
englobing the pit, wet, belly-beautiful

in the mouth able to
collect and hold two or three in one cheek before
spitting them out. Nothing is more true than the body
then, how it is made to consume pleasure, for pleasure
to pass right through. It's the mind that's

made to ponder it, to hold on. The mind of Japanese samurai
held the cherry as an emblem for the warrior, he who
breaks the skin and sheds the flesh and blood
to find the stone within.

I have watched the cherries turn from pale yellow to dark as olives
I have picked them straight from the tree, red and obvious from afar
but up close hiding between lush leaves, little clumps of them,

I used a ladder for what I could not reach
and for those even higher, I beat against the branches
until a cherry rain pelted down. I have picked up caved-in,
oozing rotten ones in search for the sturdy that have fallen.

And I have savored the brown rustle
that dissolves in the fingers reminding that each one was
a flower first, but that's all I want of

memory, I think, the distorting entrails of the mind.
Or so I resolve until I'm sated. Until I'm
staring into the night. Then I'm eager to pluck stars.

Jennifer Grotz, author of The Needle (Houghton Mifflin, 2011) and Cusp (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

September/October 2011
Vol. 40, #5


Penney Knightly said...


I stumbled onto the Kenyon Review and happened to click on one of your pieces without realizing it was yours. "Hope is a thing with" was what I read. It's lovely.

It seems I keep coming back around in little circles, and finding your poetry. It's amusing how things happen that way, sometimes. I certainly am enjoying seeing your work. I don't mind bumping into it. :)

Who are your favorite poets?

I recently discovered Alex Lemon, Laura Kasischke, and Rachel Zucker, and am madly in love with them for all kinds of different reasons, they are all quite different stylistically, but appealing to my sensibilities.

How are things going for you? I love that you're blogging, making your work available, and being a positive force in the poetry community.

Take care,

Martha Silano said...

Dear Penney,

What a pleasure to hear from you! I'm glad you're enjoying my work--I do try to make it available online as much as I possible. Blogging is a way for me to stay connected with poets and writers I admire but rarely (if ever) get the chance to see in person.

It sounds like we both like three of the same writers. I SO enjoyed Rachel Zucker's Museum of Accidents--it is so wonderful! I like all of her work, actually, but that one is standout smashing. I also enjoy the work of Bob Hicok, Kelli Russell Agodon, Heather McHugh, Juan Felipe Herrera, Patricia Smith, Albert Goldbarth, Thomas Lux ... and oh so many others. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are two of my very favorites.

Things are very well with me--thanks for asking. I just had a fab, fab time reading in Fayetteville, AR. Such a great crowd ... and they actually bought books and made a group donation. I heart Fayetteville!