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In Rome last summer I learned
that there are seven varieties of apricots,
that they are distinguished not only



of the possessive claims the apricot
for the country, the animal
wilderness, for water softened with roses.

drifted up from the cobblestones. A thickness,
a palpable haze of flesh beginning
to spoil, of sugar turning in sunlight.

In Amman, a tree like the one leaning
on a wall in the piazza had reigned over
our childhood, baladee apricots like shattered

lanterns aglow at its base, darkening,
gathering droves of ants, the ravenous taking.
Not the perfume of Damascus

long cry at the end of the ballad of old summers.
In Amman, it is known that an apricot harvest
can be ruined by untimely frost and that,

like Rome, the city is built on seven hills.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

New England Review

Volume 39, Number 3 / 2018

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