When my father died

A neighbor gave us

A plum tree

To plant in the backyard

My mother said

We didn’t have one

Instead of thank you


The woman was divorced

And Catholic

With two kids

She worked

At the phone company

Which was unusual

Considering 1979


It didn’t take long

For the ruby fruit

To turn

For her to take to

Canning jam

Rows of mason jars

In the dark garage


She was always

After me to try it

But I wouldn’t

Not on sourdough toast

Or with biscuits and eggs

Even when she promised

It wasn’t too sweet

(The Chariton Review, Winter 2018)