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As a Fruit Salad

by William Doreski

Artwork; “Chillies” by Amanda Streetman

Eager for a change of clothes,

I rush to the men’s shop but find

most garments ugly or wrong-sized.

Bearskins only in grizzly,

far too big. Lambskins too small.

Cowhide trousers too tight, shirts

too crude and reeking of tannin.


So I’ll go vegetable. Fig leaves

fit all. Then a banyan wrapper,

milkweed and nettle for warmth.

A layer of magnolia blossoms.

A vest woven of budding twigs.

Shoes with pine uppers, teak soles.


Knit together with grapevine sash,

I’m an anthropomorphic figure

by Giovanni Stanchi, late

of Rome. His creatures sport fruit,

and once I flower in the rain

fruit will follow: apples, pears,

mangoes, melons, orange and peach.


Garbed in this healthy regalia

and creaking like a forest

I’ll march to the conventional hall

to deliver the keynote address

from a script printed on the peels

of a hundred green papaya.


If I had found a bearskin that fit

I’d growl that address in tones

no one would dare to dispute.

But as a fruit salad I’ll present

myself so armored in calm

no one will think to question

the most cubist of my conjectures.       


My leaf-cover sighs and rustles

as the breeze inspirits me.                                     

The rain, as I had expected,

brings forth flowers everywhere,

rebuking the diesel bus odors

with gusts of tropical splendor

fresh on the tip of the tongue.

Published inPoetryChapel Hill

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