Peaches

by Sara Backer

The love a young child
unthinkingly gives
her father

The branch that cracks
under the load
of unpicked fruit

Sara Backer is the author of two poetry chapbooks; Bicycle Lotus, which won the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award, and Scavenger Hunt, which is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She teaches composition at UMass Lowell while pursuing an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. To read more of her poems online, visit sarabacker.com/publications.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Peaches”?

    My daily walk includes a hilltop orchard of apples and peaches that was recently sold to a housing developer. No one told the trees they would no longer be tended. A peach tree, ripped by a bulldozer, leaned out of a mound of dirt. Though dying, the tree still put forth fruit–and what fruit expresses love more than a peach? We read a lot about parental abuse because it’s so vivid and visceral, but not so much about neglect because neglect is what’s not there. I do not believe parents love their children unconditionally; I believe children love their parents unconditionally–and not all parents accept that wondrous gift. This poem started with sentence after sentence of description. In revision, it came down to 20 words. No sentences, because syntax is broken with the branch. No periods because life goes on. I became a Peach Thief. I took the peaches, ripened them in a brown paper bag, and baked beautiful pies to feed people I love.
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