Persephone, Esther Tang
When I think about 1945, I think about peaches.
Sweet and fuzzy with a fat, brown pit smack in the center.
I remember biting into a fresh May peach from the backyard
when my mother ran into the kitchen yelling the war was over.
I was twelve. Mother hugged Aunt Bev and they cried into the nape
of each other while I licked my sticky fingers and tried not to
drip on the floor. They started calling it Victory Day,
but to me, in southern Georgia, the only victories were the three peaches
I ate while sitting on the kitchen floor. My mother stayed inside all day
to listen to the radio. I collected the eggs like I did every morning.
I waved at the mailman. I picked more peaches
from the tree in the yard and thought of ways to politely
ask my mother if she would bake a pie. Aunt Bev babbled all day,
saying Uncle Frank would come home soon. I put the eggs in the cupboard.
The static drone of the radio, summer cicadas. I went outside
to wait for fireflies and watch the sun abandon another day.
A furry caterpillar climbed on my bare foot. It was a Tuesday.
The boys next door were playing cops and robbers, finger guns in hand.
About the Artist
Esther Tang, Rice University
“Persephone” first appeared in R2: The Rice Review.