Magazine article The Nation

Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns

Magazine article The Nation

Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns

Article excerpt

FRESH PEACHES, FIREWORKS, & GUNS
Mozart once said that he wrote music
           by finding the notes
that love one another and putting them
           together. But remembering how
the dissonant opening bars of his string quartet
           in C major grate
against each other and yet somehow cohere,
           I like to think
he found a different kind of order,
           the same principle
of musical composition that inspired the roadside sign
           I saw on Rt. 29:
Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns.
           It makes me do a U
-turn pull over, and park among the rusted-out
           pick-ups. Here,
under a striped awning, are pyramids of peaches,
            all local grown:'
the proprietor explains in a drawl whose vowels
           almost drool
peach juice. Next to the flesh
           of the fruit ripened
to the color of the sunset, shine the blue-black double barrels
           of 12-gauge shotguns
and rows of brass shells. For sale, fresh peaches
           and Smith & Wessons,
tempered steel and bruisable fruit, a collision/
           collusion that makes
me feel suddenly fragile, a dissonance as pure
           as Mozart's, two notes
never put together until now and now forever
           inextricable.
After filling a paper bag with peaches, I walk
           to the rack of fireworks,
roman candles, smoke bombs, firecrackers, sparklers
           and the ones imported from China
with names like Colorful Bird, Ground Blossom Flower,
           and Plum Flowers Report Spring. … 
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