Across my palms, skin has swelled in lumps
crackled like these pumpkins around us.
I try to lift one and imagine the face I’ll carve.
A pebbled orange orb, it drops rotten from its hooked stem.
Its smell is foul, its seeded shards like wet pottery.
Not that one, but there are others to bring home.
We walk further down the row. Around us, blue hills rise.
I fall out of rank from the explosive legion
of voices that tends to invade quietude in such settings.
I squeeze my wife’s hand, hear again a word I cannot define.
It’s like an aunt dead and buried,
the one I’ve got a picture of but have never met.
What is it about such a word and its elusive associations?
I pause a moment. Neither of us speak.
We watch a small wind lift dust and fumes of fertilized soil.
I turn to her. She smiles shading her eyes from autumnal light.
Ambiguities remain. Doubts will come and go.
Ephemeral simplicities renew us.
In 2015, John Michael Flynn was an English Language Fellow with the US State Department at the Far Eastern State University in Khabarovsk, Russia. He is now back home in Virginia, where he teaches English part-time at Piedmont Virginia Community College. His most recent poetry collection, Keepers Meet Questing Eyes, is available from Leaf Garden Press. You can learn more about John and his published work at www.basilrosa.com.