By Carolyn Rose

June 1, 2020


My granddaddy’s knotted hands were forever peeling a tangerine, slicing a fig, cracking a native pecan, offering it to someone he loved. Most often, most tenderly, to my grandmother.

I imagine him and this day without her:

I let the dog out the back door for his morning ablutions in the tall, wet grass. He went smelling and snuffling and searching farther than usual, as he has these last few days. Still determined to find you. I had to follow him out into the orchard and whistle him back. The sun was coming over Johnson Mountain, making blue shadows under the trees. It was damp, chill.

I weeded and picked a little as I walked back to the house, talking low to the dog to keep him close. In the kitchen, I sliced up two peaches and sprinkled on a tich of sugar because that tree in the dead center heart of the orchard has tart but perfect fruit. I put them in the refrigerator for eating later, after this hard day.

Now it’s evening and I sit here on the back steps. The dog is back out in the orchard, still hoping. I hold the cold bowl in my lap. The tree shadows stretch the other way in that self-same orchard. But only one spoon clanks in the bottom of this chipped white bowl, which we’ve always liked best, and because there’s no tussle for it, the last slice of peach is the saddest taste I’ve ever known.


Carolyn Rose lives in Salt Lake City, in the currently-wildflower-crazy foothills of the Wasatch Front. 


Photo by Irina Iriser courtesy of Unsplash

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