painted illustration of pear and leaves on beige background
Gabriela Pesqueira / The Atlantic

All fruits are not created equal.
In September the pear tree produces
an army of hard pellets tasting
of twine, of whining,
tasting of the word but.

What animal sprayed
its body’s bitter water
across this bark year after year?
Who knelt here to bury
amulets forbidding flavor?

Other pears require company
to produce fruit,
but this tree bargained
with the local devil:
Permit me to self-fertilize
and I shall forevermore
yield the inedible.

On a day when the world
is full of poison, this is
a good place to harvest wrath,
to spit venom and crush
any yellow protest
rising from the grass.