Fruit and Flames

Zachary Pishock

Another tattered soul departed the world this morning, 

Fleeing its mortal coil in tandem with the moon 

And drifting into an ever after. 

I cannot say if it is a better one. 

 

The dawn’s apricot and tangerine hues 

Are marred by the scarlet apple, 

Swelling as the blood flows 

To paint it in stark contrast to the rising sun. 

Fruits of labor, juicy and full, 

Suddenly sour as the air itself decays. 

This is death. 

This is what awaits. 

 

In the aftermath, I glance at you, 

One which is subtle and minute, 

Yet you catch and hold it all the same. 

You tell me of your future nights,  

Occupied by work and physical toils, 

And you express your exhaustion, 

Although I can see it in your irises, 

The shadows under your eyes, 

Your ruffled hair and popping joints as you walk. 

 

Does only rotten fruit await you? 

Is that all that awaits us? 

This pen cannot stave off the scythe, 

Not forever, 

And my heart feels rough, sharp, 

As it shatters at the thought of losing you. 

Am I doomed to break, 

To crumble under the weight of my lemon-scented shame 

And pure, shining, grape-flavored guilt? 

Are we doomed to fall apart, 

To suffocate and drift toward that place 

Which draws souls like moths to flame? 

I cannot help but feel like that flame sometimes, 

Something which attracts loss and despair 

In levels of black and blue which I cannot control. 

One day, I will burn you 

And leave you discolored, 

An unripe berry falling from the branch. 

This truth, at least, blasts its heat through my bones. 

 

Or will you be the one to burn me? 

I tend to get caught up in my own fire 

And forget about your own brilliant light, 

Despite its purity and sweetness. 

I long for your hand in my hair, 

Your head in my lap, 

Any part of your touch which can heal 

My cracked and crushed harvest.  

But I force myself to reject it, to deny myself of feeling, 

And so I crush these fruits even further. 

Perhaps that will be what sinks my heart further 

Into the violet and the indigo. 

 

I do not deserve to feel this hollowness in my chest. 

Death has never been about me, 

Not when it was a relative in the casket, 

And not when the letters and music are all that remain 

Of that tattered soul which escaped  

The earth’s multitude of agonies. 

But I still cannot absolve this departure 

With the one resting on the horizon, 

Rising as the apricot and tangerines mingle 

Into pale blueberries. 

 

And that which was soured now smells faintly of impending rain, 

Well-prepared to leave mold and rot in its wake. 

For that, I will leave a “Rest in Piece” for the fallen 

And pray that the storm passes us by. 

Fall 2021