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April 2017, vol 13 no 1

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D. F. Tweney

Plum Season

Every summer the plums ripen and drop with alarming speed. Over the course of a week hundreds of them, crowding the plot of dirt and lilies around the base of the tree. We gather as many as we can, sorting the rotten from the merely damaged, filling pot after pot with the windfall. Then the kitchen work: Squeezing their soft flesh to separate the stones, cooking them down, blending the stew into puree. Storing it in the freezer in gallon bags, yogurt containers. Or cooking it again, pouring in pounds of sugar to offset the concentrated intensity of the cooked, tart plum skins. Ladling the purple-black puree into boiled Mason jars. They cool on the counters. In time, each one gives a small “click” as the jam inside contracts and pulls its lid against the jar, sealing itself inside.

Midsummer morning
watching the sunlight creep
down the treetops