AT THE EDGE
My friend Dan lives at the edge
of the earth, two blocks from the ocean.
If he looks past the diving gulls and
breaking waves, he may see Hawaii
way out there, floating peacefully in the Pacific.
Dan spends his days writing fiction,
telling the story of Rolf and Loretta,
the German POW and the Mennonite farm girl,
two seemingly different people thrown together
during the last world war.
Figs grow on a tree in Dan’s tiny courtyard by the sea.
When the figs pile up, as they do in late summer,
he fills jars with fig jam. A friend invites
Dan over to pick all the lemons and oranges
that he can carry home. For me, as a Kansas kid,
I cannot imagine actual citrus trees that dangle with
lemons, like the lemons that I buy at the store,
that ten times a day I cut and squeeze into iced tea.
From my landlocked home in the center of the continent,
I write to tell Dan about the house-rattling thunderstorm
that woke me this morning,
tell him about the essays I’m writing
that describe what “home” means to me.
And from his place, at the edge of the world,
where sand dollars and empty shells wash ashore,
where salt and parrots hang in the air,
where lemons grow on trees like they belong there,
in his little home by the sea,
Dan turns figs to jam, he turns words into stories.
~ by Cheryl Unruh