Pecans by Amy Hartley

I can hear the rope
tightening ‘round the branch.
Arching my back, through the
bare interior of the tire, I gaze
into a huge expanse of a
pecan tree. Layers of branches
Reach out forever,
For a second,
I let go
and reach back.

+++++

Crack—Crack
I pinch the shells
with a nutcracker and pull
slivers out of the hollows.
The savory insides
melt on my tongue,
my fingers pluck another
from his collection.
With no care from where
they’re from, I’m satisfied
crushing the hulls.

+++++

Memory swirls through husks
and she looks out at the place where no
shadow of a tree remains.
Hissing, the sun burns the grass
where it stood and she says never
did anyone expect it to produce.
At least, not in their lifetime.
But I ate from that tree.
We all did.

+++++

Sometimes, on the inside,
packed between the gills
of the pecan, is a bitter
powder. If you want to enjoy
the sweetness of the nut,
you have to pick at the rivets,
and dig out the
orange dust that clings.

+++++

She doesn’t remember
a tree. Her mind clings to her husband,
but I recall early childhood, and it’s the
pecan tree from which my memories swing.
They exist only as a rush of images,
a swish through the air,
a man —
a tree —
gone.

Traces linger within,
but nothing you can touch
and both,
now covered in grass.

 

 

Amy Hartley received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2010. A lifelong Alaskan, the writer lives in Fairbanks with her husband and two small children. Her work has appeared in Ice Box, Earth’s Daughters and the book, There’s This Place I Know. Work is also forthcoming in Fire Tetrahedron. Folks can find her on the Instagram platform at https://www.instagram.com/avirgo1/.