Moon Man 4
By Tamara Madison

Here’s a plate of dates
for you my dear, to grace
your winter table, stocked
with the sugar of three hundred
vermillion sunsets, withered
by the raving of April winds
and nourished by the rare
blessing of winter rains.
Fruits of hardship and patience
they once hung in clusters
tight together, wrapped in paper
to shield them from the wind
and sun, by men on the tallest
ladders; now the sticky
berries huddle tip to tail
with their siblings
on a Christmas plate. Peel
one away from its sister’s
tacky cling and tear it
with your teeth; there
amidst all that sugary
pulp is the seed
wrinkled like a brain,
the color of cockroach,
made of just the kind of wood
that might be put back
into the sand to sprout up
tall in a frond-shaded grove
like this one, whose shadows
slice the car as we drive past
on our way to the freeway
that will take us out
of this desert to our own land
of borrowed water.

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