Poem of the Week | July 27, 2015

This week we’re pleased to offer another poem from our new summer Defy issue, 38.2. Jennifer Barber is the author of Given Away and Rigging the Wind, both published by Kore Press. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Gettysburg Review, Upstreet, Post Road, Orion and elsewhere. She teaches literature and creative writing at Suffolk University in Boston, where she is founding and current editor of the literary journal Salamander.
Author’s note:

My sister has a frail old pear tree in her backyard—for years, she’s been expecting it to die, but it’s hanging on and still producing pears. Although the tree is a popular destination for the birds in her neighborhood, and last year, a family of raccoons made a home in its spindly branches, the pears aren’t edible for humans—they’re hard and bitter, and fall from the tree before they ripen.
The “buzzing, riddled heart” in the third stanza is from another poem of mine, one I never completed, about pulling into a farm stand in early fall, when the bees and wasps are aggressive in their hunger; recently I’ve been having fun going through my old notebooks to see if individual lines or phrases can contribute to newer poems.


Motion Harmony #2

The pears that dropped
from the failing tree

are pale bronze

with sunlit copper spots.


Rotting in the grass.
Already riddled with wasps.


By pear I mean pear,
not a buzzing, riddled heart.
At least I think I do.


The flesh of it laid bare

by the intricate, steady 

work of mouth. The tunneling
collapsing passageways.