pyrus communis

If cultivated to sweeten their tongue,
they grow us staked or caged, hairless
twigs and leaves, starred and starved

core, lengthening and ripening fruit
proof we would become whatever
they required. If our skin split

with abscess, dripped juice or grit,
they pinched, pain obliterating
as their hill-home against the sky.

If some seasons, they thin us down
by ropes and blades, anywhere
our limbs cross or touch another.

If our fruit windfalls, beckons wasps,
honeybees, or foragers, they smoke
the fields to win the best of our variety.

If we’re as common as the Latin origin
of our name, they’re ancient, well-known
shapeshifts, divining the power change.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks, including Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink), twice nominated for the Elgin Award. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Red Rose Review, Star*Line, Silver Blade, and elsewhere. Her latest book is Velocipede.

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