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What was I thinking of when I threw one of my

peach stones over the fence at Metro North,

and didn’t I dream as always it would take

root in spite of the gravel and the newspaper,

and wasn’t I like that all my life, and who isn’t?

I thought of oranges and, later, watermelon

and yellow mangoes hanging from sweetened strings,

but it was peaches, wasn’t it, peaches most of

all I thought about and if the two trees that

bore such hard little fruit would only have lived

a few years more how I would have had a sister

and I would have watched her blossom, her brown curls

her blue eyes, though given her family she would have

been wild and stubborn, harsh maybe, she would

be the angry one — how quiet I was — the Chinese

grew their peaches for immortality — the

Russians planted theirs so they could combine

beauty and productivity, that was

my aesthetic too, I boiled my grape leaves,

I ate my fallen apples, loving sister.

Peaches

Gerald Stern

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translated from the Spanish written by
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XXXVI