William James and the Giant Peach.
to J. C. Hallman
James ate the giant peach and waited for the rain. It
wasn't a children's story, but an entire year
of his journal razored out. The August heat had taken its toll
on the garden. The clouds hung low over the upstate hills. It
wasn't raining raining, but it looked like rain. James relaxed his
shoulders and walked. He didn't feel the rain, but could see it
falling Lightly across the field of gentle showers. You can go to the
Adirondacks by yourself. James recognized the freestone's curve and
Golden natural split. Leaves leave their mark, The blush is stained
amber. The enchanting prints Of leaf, sun, and skin: radiant and nude.
From James's experience the soul ached. He laughed at himself, but
still couldn't sleep, Buy a horse, or make up his mind. In most
cases he preferred a mid-size peach. On the hottest day of the hottest
month, It's easy to like a peach, even a giant one. All mouth, all
mind, the plain and high fields
coalesce and stretch. Yellow-gold flesh on the turn to golden
fruit. Peach passing into peach. Taste varies with movement. From hand
to wrist and chin to ground--juice
and more juice. James wiped his mouth with his hand, And hand on
his handkerchief. The red and inborn gift of a fine-grained pit, Held,
loved, and gone too. A little more mountain and a little less valley
and light. Is this what "half" looks like? Damn the
causes, damn the effects. The universe meets us halfway. When it's
perfect, "the perfect peach"
is the perfect phrase. Don't tell, never tell
. Valley, mountain,
Sun-behind-the clouds--James never did.
THOMAS DEVANEY is the author of A Series of Small Boxes (Fish
Drum, 2007). In the spring of 2007 he presented "No Silence Here,
Enjoy the Silence," at the Institute of Contemporary Art in
Philadelphia for the "Locally Localized Gravity" exhibit.
Recent work has been published in The Sienese Shredder and jubilat.
Devaney is a Penn Senior Writing Fellow in the English Department at the
University of Pennsylvania.