by Anya Krugovoy Silver

I place you by my window so your skin can receive the setting sun,
so your flesh will yield to succulence, lush with juice,
so the saints of autumn will bless your flaming fruit

because cancer has left me tired

because when I visit God’s houses, I enter and leave alone
not even in the melting beeswax, and swinging musk of incense
has God visited me, not when I’ve bowed or kneeled or sung

because I have found God instead when I crouched in bathrooms,
lain back for the burning of my skin, covered my face and cursed

Persimmon: votive candle at the icon of my kitchen window
your four-petaled stem the eye of God in the Temple’s dome,
tabernacle of pulp and seed
dwelling place for my wandering prayers

I am learning from you how to praise

Because when your body bruises and softens, you are perfected
because your soul, persimmon, is sugar.

Last updated February 21, 2023

About this Poem:

This poem fulfills Ezra Pound's Imagist axiom- that "the natural object is always the adequate symbol" The persimmon is a species of the genus Di0spyros, and one folk erymology construes that Greek name as "divine fruit" or "God's pea" Silver's sixteen-line poem begins with a simple act. The speaker talks directly to the persimmon as she puts it by the window. Like Mary Szybist, Silver seems especially attracted to apostrophe because of its resemblance to prayer. Notice how she purposefully repeats the soft sound of the letters c, s, and sh to bind the words together across all three lines.