Mariela brought us pears to eat

in the park.

The thought occurred to me

to tell her about

my grandmother,

but the moment passed.

Memaw loved pears.

I brought them to her as gifts.


I remember her

knotted fingers

curled around

the bulbous bottoms

as she cut one up,

no longer able to just

take a bite

with her dentures.

How she’d bear down with

a dull, grey knife and slice through

toward her thumb

and then carry the pear

with its dribble of juice

deftly balanced between knife

and thumb to her mouth

like she was a pirate.

Never cutting thumb

Never cutting lip

Once, I brought Memaw three pears

of all

different varieties–

Bosc, Asian, and Williams.

I showed her where I placed them

in the fridge,

front and center,

so she could find them.

When I returned, three weeks later,

“They stole my pears,”

she whispered with force.

A Kenyan family was living with them

at the time,

gave birth to their second child

in my parents’ bed.

The husband was studying ministry,

while the wife took care of Memaw.

I went to the fridge and opened it up.

The pears sat in the exact same place,

though a little hunched over.

“Memaw!” I exclaimed. “These are your pears!”

“Oh, I thought those were something different.

Maybe they’ve been replaced.”

I don’t know why I didn’t tell my

friend from Peru

that pears make me think of my grandmother

or that I didn’t like them

when I was child

because they seemed like

apples and sand and water

all mixed up.

It just wasn’t the time.

These were our pears,

and this was our day.

Shannon M. Turner
originally published May 2017
here on this blog