Apricot Jam

Patricia Wellingham-Jones
From: Don't Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer, PWJ, 2000

Giddy with spring, gulping fresh soft air,
she pushed her healed body
up a rickety ladder
into the green crown of the tree.
Across her plaid-shirted back
the sun played a pattern of leaf and branch.
Hands plunged among the fruit,
she cupped small globes of pink-gold velvet
in tender fingers. Coaxed apricots
from their twigs, layered them
in a basket woven of reeds.
She laughed as perfumed juices
dripped from her greedy mouth.
Small leaves brushed her shoulders,
a delta breeze cooled flushed cheeks.
In the kitchen, scrubbing,
she noticed with dread the tiny scratches,
remembered the rustling
around bare arms, the eager thrusts.
She watched from another planet
her arm fill and swell, throb to her heart's
hastened rhythm, glow with fire*
and never hungered for apricots again.

*Lymphedema - scourge of the breast cancer patient


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