Anthony Adrian Pino
Before houses crept up the hills of east San Jose,
before cement and stone box buildings went up for shipping and receiving,
before miles of glaring cars forced us into sunglasses,
before we were stop-trapped in the heat of the asphalt and needed air
before all these, there were apricot trees.
You could reach up easily and bend a branch down,
pull off some fruit and let the limb glide back.
You could sit in the shade and bite into your prize.
Your teeth would break its tough skin,
and its nectar, which was gold and sweet, would rush onto your tongue
and run down the sides of your mouth, down your neck and under your shirt;
but there was a creek nearby (before the engineers came)
and you could dip your hand into it and rub your throat and chest with water
and remove the stickiness, while, in the corner of your eye, a fox might
into the deep shade of a walnut tree, startled by the sound of your
crushing the straw of the black-turned earth.
And that's how it felt.
So when I see San Jose now, I see it through the glow of old nectar.
It blurs the details, but I can make out kids parading in cars on First Street,
Migee Luchessi raiding a gum-ball machine,
Billy Bonsi heading out to an orchard with his girl,
Rusty O'Neill buying a new ball glove,
and me, a fox-hunter of memories, savoring the taste of an apricot.