I dreamt of the Farmerís Market last night,
sunlight falling dusty on the wooden boards that creak
and the whole place smelling of strawberries,
lemon-iced pound cakes, and hanging slabs of cured meat.
The old people had fingers like dried seedpods, beckoning.
They dipped them loosely into musty crates of beans.
Their eyes had the pink and watered look the sun gives,
and they tongued aside their blue wads of chew to speak.
Children laughed and darted, lifting the long necks of squash,
thumping pumpkins, and snatching apples with elfin malice,
fingering the jewel-dark cherries and fondling the beets.
They whispered dark-eyed whispers, come back,
why did you leave. Calling: come back
while thereís dripping melon, before the okraís hard
and itís the last crop of the sweet flushed peach,
pick a pint of blackberries and ears of silver corn,
let tomato dribble down your arms, stay here and eat.
And I thought of Persephone sulking in my old picture book,
lovely, lolling amongst the minerals in her cavern.
A girl who traded abundance for a few dark well-chosen seeds.
Joanna Pearson's work has been included in Best New Poets 2005, the anthology edited by George Garrett and published in conjunction with Meridian at UVA. Her writing has also appeared recently or is forthcoming in the Mississippi Review, storySouth, JAMA, The Raleigh News & Observer, The 2River View, The Journal of Medical Humanities, Small Spiral Notebook, Amarillo Bay, Poetryfish, and Yemassee, where it received the Editorís Award. She lives in Baltimore, MD. "Farmers' Market" originally appeared in Yemassee.