The produce department makes me smile. I have a lot of good associations with food, but more than anything, those associations belong to fruits and vegetables. The heady perfume of ripe peaches, the dusky sharp tang of tomato vines, the blonde silk on an ear of corn, the imaginary world of the broccoli forest. I love all of it.
I become a poet again, in the produce aisle. At 4AM I stack apples in pyramids and form tiny word pictures to capture Granny Smith moments. The words come and go, and capturing them forever is unimportant. But rhythm and love haunt my thoughts, and the happy ghosts who visit in those times are welcome.
My grandfather is my most common produce ghost. He gave the last decades of his life to his garden, and consequently, to his granddaughters. Cornsilk is my hair, and a comparison, and moments of childhood devoted to sitting on back steps doing chores before dinner. Peaches are warm juice running through sticky fingers, plucked from the tree in high summer. Raspberries are jewels. Chives are mental floss, chewed upon in contemplation. Tomatoes, and tomatoes, and tomatoes, and August, and more tomatoes.
And so many more memories, too.
My sister will be married in those memories, in the broccoli forest, with babies underfoot, new elves, a new generation. More moments for poems, a crown of chive blossoms in her hair, or maybe zinnias and Queen Anne’s lace.
For now, I stack broccoli ever so carefully, and anoint myself with peaches.