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   Those glowing yellow and orange imposters
   from the hothouses of orangemen
   fetch a mean price at fancy groceries.
   But they are only cotton on the tongue.

   Crouching, in the fetal position,
   under the soil in the little starter pot,
   they dare not emerge. The sun's too hot,
   the nights still frigid. And spring rain
   remains. It's mucky out there,
   in California's central valley and in the
   exotic soils of Andalusian or Anatolian plain,
   Hungarian puszta, on the terraced
   hillsides of India, Mexico, or Indonesia,
   all, tilled by the shirtless, in sweat-stained
   dungarees, gatya or dhoti.

   In their own good time,
   they thrust their wobbly heads,
   balanced atop those slender threads
   of bent and burdened necks,
   through the pitch dark,
   into the dazzling world.
   They must be shaded from what
   later, they cannot get enough of.

   Gentled into the light, they spring,
   leap, toward the sky, drinking in heat,
   even at night in the balmy residue
   of the departing day, as they tap
   the reservoir in the ruptured seed.
   Soon, they will be greedy, then insatiable.
   Much later, the green globes
   will decorate every branch, like
   thick-hung Christmas tree ornaments.
   Full-blown, they will metamorphose
   into banana yellow or luminous red.

   Savory fire in throat and belly, warm
   aphrodisiac in brain and groin
   we wade into the fragrant harvest
   as into a vast and shallow sea.
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Author:Steele, Marian
Publication:the new renaissance
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2008
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