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Wild Plum

In honor of the mysterious  stranger who left a box of plums on our office doorstep, we bring you this quiet gift from Issue 39.


Wild Plum


by Jane Hirshfield


A gray squirrel tests each plum with his nose,

moving from one to another

until he feasts.


It is like watching the ego,

moving from story to story.

A man is proud of his strong brown teeth,

though all his children have died.


This tree the one he was given,

its small, sustaining fruit, some green, some yellow.


Pits drop to the ground,

a little moistness clings in the scorings.


The left-behind branches

winch themselves silently upward,

as if released from long sorrow.


Jane Hirshfield is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Come, Thief. She was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2012.

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Posted in From The Vault, Poetry

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