Cherry Summers

Cherry Summers

They sit on the steps of our low front porch,
cherry-stained fingers dropping pits 
onto the grass or sidewalk.
“They is good but they is sowie,”
exclaims our tiny neighbor, looking up
at my dad, who sits with her and her brothers,
his mouth, too, full of sour cherries
pulled from the trees in our back yard.

My sister and I spend summer afternoons
picking off stems and squeezing
the fruit to expel the pits,
juice running down our arms

to drip off elbows and pool on the 
table, attracting ants.

Bowlful after bowlful is removed from the table
by my mom to make into pies to freeze.
This task of summer is rewarded all winter long
by the crisp thin crust and tapioca-thickened 
ooze of sugared cherry gel surrounding 
the  fruit sweetened by some chemistry
of my mother’s hand.

Those summer days were lengthened
by the absence of the tolling school bell across the street
and by  a sun that lingered into night, 
bedtimes stretching out because of the impossibility
of going to bed before dark.

“Ollie ollie oxen free,” echoed from
games of hide-and-seek that ranged
from the playground across the street
into our backyard where cherry trees
that offered shade in the heat,
offered shelter from detection at night.

The aroma of cherry pie, fresh from the oven,
whetted more than mere appetites
during all those nights when,
snow piled on the windowsills,
we bit into
the sweet memories
of summer



For dVerse Poets
Image by Joanna Kasinska on Unsplash, used with permission.

25 thoughts on “Cherry Summers

  1. kim881

    I enjoyed your sweet cherry summers, Judy, and wish we had cherries on our tree; it has beautiful blossoms every year, but no fruit. What a picture you painted of juice running, dripping and attracting ants! I haven’t eaten cherry pie for a very long time, and your description has whetted my appetite for one right now! I love the wonderful memories of lengthened summer days, ‘a sun that lingered into night’ and “Ollie ollie oxen free”! There’s much to be said for deep freezers that allow you to bite into sweet memories of summer in the middle of winter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lifelessons Post author

      And she would make dozens. They lasted all winter long. We had a huge freezer because my dad was a cattle rancher. Most of it would be filled with steaks and roasts and hamburger, but the top layers were reserved for the pies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunra Rainz

    Oh, I adore all the homely memories in this poem! And the lines: the fruit sweetened by some chemistry / of my mother’s hand. Also, the idea of eating summer when there’s snow on the windowsill. Lovely imagery 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sanaarizvi

    This is absolutely lovely! 😀 I love the “cherry-stained fingers,” and resonate with; “The aroma of cherry pie, fresh from the oven, whetted more than mere appetites.”💝💝



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