Mothers once placed Osage Oranges under their babies’ beds to repel spiders.
Martha Stewart recommends quartering, drying, displaying at Christmas.
The old woman tells me: Keep what you love.
Place the fruit in every corner of every room.
Quarter the fruit. Relish the milky burst.
Don’t quarter the fruit.
Let your impossible burdens
brown in every closet. Let the boughs splinter
and drop. Keep the fruit whole.
Make a barrier of green before every door.
Keep the skin dusty.
Press the ridges to your tongue.
Savor the weight of every choice
in your hand like motherhood swelling your belly.
She tells me to search the eastern tree line.
I crawl the length of barbed wire—bramble, ivy
and fear—just to hold my impossible love near.
Allison Berry Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women’s Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as the minnesota review, Sinister Wisdom, Pilgrimage, and Josephine Quarterly. She lives in Joplin, Missouri, with her wife and two children.