Wednesday, April 12, 2006

NaPoWriMo 5

Here's one of my personal favorites, revised a few days ago, and perhaps finished.

The Date Palms

On a long street leading toward wide Klutho
bungalows, squarish, strong and flat, runs
a column of date palms; tall and regal
like those decorating borders on a Bible.
In its one hundred years of living, it
keeps the same girth, never crowding its neighbors.
Muhammad’s shade, he called it “blessed” and
forbade its destruction. Rather, partake
of ten thousand dates from a single tree

Each November, before the holidays,
they begin forming their fruited spirals.
Thus I know these are mostly female palms
chosen to adorn the roadway, my path home;
as I drive past, like a Jesus under the fronds,
my eyes cling to the pendulous bunch
of dates, oyster-shaped, orange breasted,
as they bulge below the clipped leaves.

The first year, the pods grew fat in glorious
multiplicity before their weight collapsed
the wings and bunches fell to the sidewalk,
a mess of sticky sweetness, splattering stain.
This year, they are managing the date palms:
each receives its fall shave and before
any possibility of red contamination,
the men come with their ladders and knives
and excise the flesh of the date palm.

©2006 TAWhite

retro-napowrimo #5

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