"Three Small Slices of Pumpkin Pie"
  Wendy N. Wagner

"All My Pretty Chickens"
  Josh Rountree

"And a Pinch of Salt"
  Hal Duncan

"Wunderkammern Castle"
  Krista Hoeppner Leahy

"Eating Persimmons"
  Michael Kellichner

"Pantoum with Reverb"
  Jen Schalliol

  F.J. Bergmann

"All the Saints are Looking Through Your Trash"
  Teresa Milbrodt


Eating Persimmons

by Michael Kellichner

In the shade, we share persimmons

and watch an old couple on the road

go along a cobblestone wall with a razor

on a pole, slicing stems, the heavy fruit

falling, rolling to the grass. Teeth ache

with the sweetness, and crows fly

into branches, linger a while, fly

away again. The persimmons

swollen late in the season ache

to be consumed, to drop to the road

so the wife can gather the fruit

while her husband takes the razor

to the next tree, raises the razor

and frightens off a crow, who flies

with violent flutters. Another fruit

falls, and you tear open another persimmon,

separate flesh from skin. On the road

the old woman is doubled over, the ache

undeniable in her back a different ache

than the one that rises and razors

spirit when you break silence, watching the road:

We have a saying—when the crow flies

from the branch, then the persimmon

falls. Because I am not looking, the fruit

is placed at my mouth, the fruit

sweet and falsely intimate, the ache

permeates beyond the taste of persimmons,

because we are both trying to razor

through our tethers, learn to fly

to an orchard that will have us, each road

leading to different cities, countries, your road

taking you away from where some of the fruit

are abandoned on the trees for the flying

crows, some ancient offering to assuage the ache

of separation, a ritual to lessen the sting of the razor,

which the old man now lowers, the persimmons

littering the road, his wife slowed with aches,

we with our fruit, our knife to razor

skin, dreams of flying and eating persimmons.

Michael Kellichner is a graduate of the Lycoming College creative writing program. He currently lives and teaches in South Korea.