The Bruise from the Blemish

I took a basket and began to range
the market stalls, sinking the leeks
and carrots into the metal,
careless of their thud
and weight as I quickened
to beat the rains return.

At the fruit stall, an old lady
stood before the peaches,
squeezing each of them with her palm,
pressing them softly with her fingertips,
bringing them slowly to her nose.
She surveyed her way through the stock

and caught me fishing a few beside.
No, no, no, she shook her head,
leaned down and hooked them out,
cradled a few from her cart,
and gently placed them by my aubergines.
“Those,” she said. She smiled, and left.

What reason was I granted her prime selection,
gathered from years of pinching peaches
to know the bruise from blemish,
the origin from scent alone? I can’t say.
I went home, tore open the net,
carefully retrieved a peach and devoured it

–  the best I’ve had.

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