In Case you were wondering about the Plums

My mom used to shrug off indulgence with a poem.

“This is just to say”, she would murmur, slicing the dense chocolate cake frosted with fudge so thick that we could peel it off and eat it in slabs.

“So sweet/and so cold”, I would finish, reaching around her to sliver off my own corner of the cake we had made. We would grin at each other while we licked our fingers.

Here’s the whole poem.

This Is Just To Say 

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

William Carlos Williams

I see that poem as my childhood in twelve lines — extravagance, guilt, confession. My mom.

Cynics complain that these twelve lines don’t make a proper poem: it’s too simple; it doesn’t bother to rhyme; its action is all in the past tense. Not to mention that no one gives two shits about plums, fresh OR frozen.

But moments can carry tremendous weight.  My mom died when I was forty and now every time I try to make that chocolate cake without her, I fail. The frosting cracks or the crumb chunks into gravel. Nothing will ever be the same.

My blog is dabs of simple moments: a bike ride, a leech, a Chinese ghost without knees.

The entries are confidences, complaints, and celebrations. Maybe some of them are more than what they seem. I hope all of them are honest, because that’s the hardest part.




6 Replies to “In Case you were wondering about the Plums”

  1. This is brilliant, girlfriend. Poignant and funny and smart, like all of your work. Have you read WILD? I just finished it. I think you might like it, and it hints at possible frameworks for something longer. Read it and let’s discuss?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That poem is forever “your mom”….We shared it with our students and used it to introduce a unit on poetry that we taught in Malawi and Uganda! Fun memories.
    And, the book, Wild, is a great read. You might also like The Yellow Envelope, by Kim Dinan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As you know, I love your writing…all of it. And I love you. And as you can see, the Reply function is working perfectly now. Iceboxplums is (are?) launched! And so are you. (Well, you’ve been launched for YEARS, but now from a new platform.) Hooray! Write on and fly far, my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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