Ray Osborn

Pyracantha Berries


In Memory of Alice Alsup, 1990-2014
It is not an apple, not an orange, not a lemon but berry
I brought her in desperation, comfort in unmaking.

A carnivorous slice she carved out for herself, berries
to eat and to touch from lattices in her distance from us.

It was a lifetime made from treason, was the hem
of self eaten, was unripe pyracantha berries.

It was me in the likeliness of things cramping up
to stain her with my adjure. She didn’t notice.

Lifted from her there is fragility in open mouthed
tandem. This, a thing kept secret from her and laid
bare to feel knowingly as a piece of moist dissolve

settled inside of her. She is of not even knowing what
pyracantha berries look like. I writhe in my wait
for attention, and when I chewed it was an opening

of her mouth. Let it last but not for us. Tropic memory
of someone else in companionship. It might have been
delicious if such a thing were to be. I make it rise

calumny in ache for comrade gnawings. Poison
tamed for a moment like the pointedly made lack

of her. It isn’t. It is a berry traded from one hand to
the other in dissatisfaction for both. It is the dire

need for sustenance but noxious food is all she finds.

What could I have brought her but the spell of non-
abbreviation of self. The rejection of “I” in exchange

for something better, a bitter berry. The freedom
of woman without body, skin not so thin as a plum.

In the intent of making myself less embodied by her,
I suck on the pits encapsulated in the freedom of it.

It was to speak and hear spoken in the calque of another,
. resting harm in my mouth, the juices you’ve left.

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