“Bright Fruit” Published This Week

Jean Anne Feldeisen
2 min readMar 2

In a little online journal called The Ravens Perch

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

I wrote this poem during the pandemic, after weeks of not going into grocery stores, isolating myself within the confines of my house. It is about the almost too-muchness of the experience of grocery shopping after a few months. The colors and smells, the noise and bustle of a lot of people, along with a strange reticence to get too close to anyone, or even to make eye contact that might encourage closeness. It was a strange time for many who took the pandemic restrictions seriously. We stayed home, we wore masks if we went out, we were afraid to engage with others, and we were afraid to pick up a piece of fruit because of contamination. Especially at the beginning, the grocery shopping experience was fraught with anxiety.

Bright Fruit

After months spent alone
each day the same,
what a delight of colors, smells,
Avocados and blood oranges,
mounds of lettuces
bright lemons yellow and brown

And all this bustle. Strangers amble
up and down aisles, or hurry, disgusted
or excited. Arguing, articulating a point
with grand sweep of arms. Hard to shop
with all the flash and flap
finally slide into checkout.

I’d like to touch the weathered cheeks
of the woman─ eyes downcast─
who pulls into line behind me. A mother,
grandmother, perhaps,
she lives alone. I
can tell
by the half-dozen items in her cart.

I’ll bet she knows precisely how much money
Is held in that purse she hugs
tightly to her side.
She is thinking if I put back
that fresh orange
there will be enough.

I imagine
a life spent stepping
for husband, children, neighbors,
pushing her wants away.
As a rock worn by relentless
sea, bit by bit
she recedes.

When I place the plastic divider
onto the conveyer,
a small gesture to allow her groceries,
she lifts eyes to mine and smiles
a surprise
the bright

of a cut watermelon.

Jean Anne Feldeisen

I've got my fingers in way too many pots. Cook, writer, poet, reader, musician, therapist, dreamer, a transplant from New Jersey suburbs to a farm in Maine.