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