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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 230 words
By VA Smith

On Not Buying the Peaches

In Richmond’s Fan District, 
June Farmers’ Market features 
furry Georgia peaches mounding 
in cardboard boxes, crowding 
Crayola-bright sweet peppers, 
baby cukes, inevitable zucchini. 
My friend and I cannot not 
see these fruits as Cezanne 
saw them, graceful globes 
never falling, never blemished 
or eaten. Who would fault us? 
We are not empty aesthetes, 

precious hoarders of Grecian 
Urn “Nevers,” but old pals since 
high school, one encased in sorrow 
like her son caged in State Prison, 
the other holding her own against 
brain cancer, both craving juice 

& joy from this fruit: pies cooling, 
oozing orange syrup, tomatoes sliced 
with basil & peaches, chicken grilled 
with peaches, brushed with balsamic glaze. 
Then we’ll buy more just to gaze on, 

lapis blue bowls on our counters 
toppling with smudges of pink, 
yellow & rouge. We know our 
days are numbered, but we’re 
living, not counting them. Her 
husband will not buy her peaches 

& he’s taken her bank card, her 
brain begging her, he claims, to 
overspend. After he bought his 
sailboat, the river house, paid 
off their daughter’s wedding, 
these purchases seem a waste. 

“They’ll just sit and rot in our 
fruit basket,” he wagers. Not 
that she does not feel the thin 
blade between living & rotting, 
knows the dividing of abnormal 
cells like market interest compounding, 

or how air, light, & moisture lend 
bacteria, yeast, & mold long life. 


VA (Virginia A.) Smith
Issue 14, August 2022

is an award-winning, retired teaching professor of English at Penn State and founder of Chancellor Writing Services. She currently hones her poetic rhythms by walking and biking, serves as a home chef/caterer, and loves on her friends, family, partner, Peloton, and dog.

VA has dropped poetry into dozens of literary journals and anthologies, among them: Blue Lake Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Mobius, Oyster River Pages, Calyx, Quartet, The Southern Review, Third Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, Feels Blind Literary, West Trade Review, and Evening Street Review. Kelsay Books published her first poetry collection, Biking Through the Stone Age, in May 2022. Her second collection, American Daughters, also published by Kelsay, will appear in January 2023. She is currently at work on a collection of travel poems.

Poet’s website: www.vasmithpoetry.com

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