A Plum’s Prance

By Mara Lorch

Every barefoot step, skip, or hop within the plum tree’s reach was a risk. As an eight-year-old with a sprinkler wiggling across the grass on a summer’s day, I bounded freely, with shoes and sensibility so far behind my mind, they may as well have fallen out when I somersaulted into the sweet July sunshine. Purple stains the wooden porch, the hands picking, and the feet dancing.

The size of a cherry, these plump plums were best eaten whole. Their skin appeared a lilac gray until a fingerprint smudged the matte surface away, uncovering their dark purple shine. A yellow flesh juiced out once bitten, sticking to the chins of the indulged. The stone in the fruit’s center was spit back to the green grass where it once started. Each plum that fell sprouted as the newest member of the thick family below. Their woody stems stabbed with piercing strength.

While prancing through the sprinkler’s rainbow falls, I’d spit the pits, lengthening the natural reach of the gnarled branches. The plum, it appears, may fall far from the tree. But week after week, the baby plum orchard—no taller than a toe—got mowed down, reduced to mere stumps.

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