Speaking In Plums

Phil Timpane


Even after the cutting-off that stemmed
all but filial obligation
settling for a civil separation
of mother tongues
she would plant a plum
at each new address
her parents tried on for size
as they crossed the Canadian countryside
one suburb at a time
towards retirement

The eloquent language
from petal to stone
I can only guess they chose
not to translate or form
in silent shapes between their lips
oblivious or ignoring
the attendant buzzing of wings
the constant chattering each spring of pink
blossoms that fell like baby teeth
juice stained across another nursery lawn

They come back to her now
the old roots never pulled
a revived dialect springing from cling
of places left unlived
never quite broken down
or returning to the soil
spoken of in this passing
tone of sweetness
for the roadside blooms
that sing to her in front of strangers’
spindled porches their high
voices never growing old
enough to change


Phil Timpane lives with his wife and family in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts where he works as a general contractor and designs and builds new poems. His work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Vallum, upstreet. Canary and Quay. He was winner of the Atlanta Review’s 2007 International Publication Award.