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  • Fruit
  • Bruce Snider (bio)


I swatted a mob of fliesfrom the bowl of peaches;erased, sharpened my pencil, erasedagain. Art Class. Indiana. 1986.Starkey pushed me, scrawled dick onthe back of my chair, his broad

shoulders growing broaderby the second. I watched the flies,how they crawled onthe flushed skin of the peaches.I drew them, too—were there sixor seven?—dragging my eraser

down my arm as if I could be erased,as if I might disappear into Starkey's broadshoulders, his hard mouth. Sex,I figured was as tragic as fliesstalled on a bowl's lip near peaches.I imagined unbuttoning

his shirt, white buttonsI drew, drew again, then erased.On his chest: hair soft as peachfuzz or the pale grass edging the roadwhere he'd punch me, glasses flying,after school; was it 1985 or '86? [End Page 104]

Fifteen going on sixteen,I was a skinny kid with a bad complexion,reading—for class—Lord of the Fliesabout a boy named Piggy's erasure.I longed for the weight of broadshoulders. Was hunger peaches,

I wondered, or a sketch of peaches?Was pain just another word for sex?I walked home down the roadpast a dead dog on its way to resurrection,more proof that a body could be eraseduntil—poof!—nothing but flies. [End Page 105]

On Billy Lucas, Who Hanged Himself in His Grandmother's Barn

The horse stall still holds his shadowas the hayloft holds last fall's bound hay.All day the field offers its usual mercies:rust on a sardine tin, quick wormin the crack willow bud. Wind shakesthe picked-over fruit. Here liesa dog's bone, notched by teeth.Here: speckled eggs, shit and straw.Somewhere a body is hammeredinto something new, beyond chain saws,grain elevators, and the Pizza Hut off Route 9.Alders weep leaves into churchyards,Jesus and the squares of lime Jell-O.Farm boys roll joints in the back acre, usingpages from the King James, lighting Luke,Matthew, His words rolling upward. Soonnight will take it all, even the baler brokendown by the roadside, even the jack pine'shigh needles that no one can touch. Gone,the field says, means gone, what's hereabout to go. Goodbye to the dayas it releases the dew's dewnessdissolving with an enviable freedom,blind to the cold snap, and already snow. [End Page 106]

Bruce Snider

Bruce Snider is the author of the poetry collections Fruit (forthcoming this spring), Paradise, Indiana, and The Year We Studied Women. Coeditor of The Poem's Country: Place and Poetic Practice, he is an associate professor at the University of San Francisco.



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