Harvesting

Nov 8, 2019

Today’s poem is “Harvesting” by Sonja Johanson.  Her latest chapbook is  Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks) and recent work has appeared in American Life in Poetry and the Bellvue Literary Review.  Sonja is a graduate of College of the Atlantic, and divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.

She writes, “Some years ago I was harvesting 'Moon and Stars' watermelons with my young son, and he remarked that they looked like whales. Of course he was right, and this poem grew out of the many similarities I saw, once he had pointed the resemblance.”

Harvesting
by Sonja Johanson

How I already love you—
your whole pod beached
in a great pile, just now
pulled from under prickly
strands and waving fronds,
rolled and lifted together,
bodies beginning to swell in
the fevered air.  How foreign
to stroke your taut grey skin,
find dents and scars where
some rough line sawed across
that tender flesh.  How the flesh
bulges, how it would burst
when flensed, the white beneath,
the sweet-red meat, black bullets.
Your stripes and chevrons,
your moon and stars by which
we might name you: Lamp Oil,
Trident, Chanel # 5, Sweet Shining
Light, Blacktail Mountain.  Your
rough snout, your torso—fat, then
narrowed down to caudal peduncle—
ribs and sections expanding as we
run our hands across your equator.
Your belly: ivory, lemon, sunrise.
Waves of yellow hazing into greeny
darkness, auroras in the borealis
evening, dark above for looking
down, light below for looking
up from bottom into sky.

Poem copyright ©2015 Sonja Johanson.