— for George Floyd
I had forgotten its coolness I carry
from ice box to counter slab.
A pear’s taste is a hot commodity,
crisp and sweet.
Its body bares a certified label —
the inspector’s choice.
Its unbroken skin sits silent
on my countertop.
The greenish-gold of its silhouette
does not wobble or
collapse like a cracked egg.
Funny how present tense
can worm its way into a memory.
When I was a young girl,
the white woman next door grew pear trees —
littered the ground with their fruit.
I had forgotten.
By summer’s end she donned a straw hat,
climbed the ladder to her constellation of crops,
shared them with my brother and me.
The pears sat in our kitchen windowsill.
Our noses pressed against the scent
till they were ripe enough.
Now I stand at my kitchen counter
paring the skin from its flesh.
Its fresh tears stream in my hands.
I had forgotten pears ripen
at room temperature,
in their cultural climate.
I remember the instructions
that guarantee a pear’s ripeness:
simply press its neck.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Sandra Rivers-Gill is a writer, performer, and playwright. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies, including Of Rust and Glass, Common Threads, Poetry X Hunger, Death Never Dies, Kissing Dynamite, Mock Turtle, and Braided Way Magazine.