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Cezanne Pears

When my grandfather died he left the uneaten half of a croissant on his table.
There are unfinished oil paintings in the garage. Long stretches of magazines from a
Time when they were saved.
And in our house he walked with folded arms. From room to room
The eternal foreigner.
Coming to the piano, crouching over it and recalling some notes from a victory song
With one hand. Those old notes, laid down aimless and un-purposed,
Gasping for air
In a time that didn’t make space for them, or for him.
He belonged to the garden and to the workbench and to the patience of these two.
When patience was a virtue. When virtue was a mast sturdier than the quick, heedless
Stylings of our time.
Not only did he defy us with his works. Gardening, watchmaking,
But with his voice when it came out through the garden calling for his wife:
And she would come with bread and compote and pears freshly plucked
And he would take a knife from his pocket and cut into the pear
With one hand, bringing the untaught ease of this motion to us and in it
We saw before us and before him, when motions
Were copied down with our eyes and burned into us. When the best record keepers were
Our bodies. When we worked in the garden and at the bench, disassembling watches
Without holding to the result. Weeding without holding to the result.
Eating without holding to the result and the result was inherent in the act because
There was survival inherent in the act.
And the garden and the workbench stood as sovereign land for him and he may well
Have put up a mast and pinned a flag but instead a quieter plot of land for him and
His last name became the mast, sturdy and recognizable to us.
But not too far could you see it because his defiance was quieter and in his works.
And not too far could you hear it unless a foreign voice came from the garden
And called out to his wife pushing out the air around it that gave him
Not much space in our time for this.

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