In Short, a Memory of the Other on a Good Day, 1

Much Better, Schreiner

The skin of an apricot

is alive

as a skinned knee a mother must wash,

the raw patch, the tears she loves

and weeps to see and weeps to see

no more, the child grown and reaching

the age of forgetting.

This box of apricots

from Saudi Arabia I lifted up

to my nose and from the golden

dust came the sun

on warm skin. Is it possible

to be as tender as they are,

so that rubbing against one another

as they begin to soften means

some skin comes off as it does from your palm

when you have raked leaves all day?

In the evening, taking your hand

in your hand, or if lucky

in another's hand, see beneath

the peel of us the red membrane

of the scraped knee or the grazed

knuckle as you make supper,

ticklish as the lip to the tip

of another's tongue. But it does not open,

really, until you part it aside

at the seam where it has been sewn

while it played in the wind

on the lifted bough and green waxy leaves.

Isn't it unlike you—how unlikely

after all, to tease an apricot

in the middle of the afternoon

in the workplace 6000 miles

from the woman they remind you of.