Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sharon Fagan McDermott: The Summer of Nectarines

was terrible. Plague on the winds, in the air,

on our tongues in the midst of old conversations.

Set within millions of homes, exhausted




lamps flicked on and off and on again: all hours.

Somewhere the sound of an infant’s wail thick

in the limbs of sycamores. Somewhere




a dog’s bark caught in his throat. And 

the drought-fried grass, which hosts no fireflies.

And the promise of thunderstorms never fulfilled.




Someone delivered fruit on the porch:

nectarines, oddly noble in blue plastic bags,

as if they were already past, objects in an oil painting,




maroon and peach, solid with sheen. Somewhere

a piano chord struck. Somewhere a cat stretches

long limbs awake. Somewhere a face on a screen




like a comet’s tail. Lit, dissipating. Books tried

to intervene, comfort, offer up visions. The old

world in a fervent embrace. And heat bore down.




Honeybees went up in whorls of smoke 

from the lawns. Outside people rushed by, 

their apocalyptic eyes darting toward you, away. 




Head down, run on. The hose watered day and night 

so that something, anything might thrive. 

Why not Zinnias? Asters? On the counters,




fruit unknotted itself, melted down in the heat, 

mealy and bruised. But in the shrillness 

of multiple fans the kitchen erupted 




in nectarine fragrance,

And so, too, the whole house.

And so, too, the day.



Copyright 2021 Sharon Fagan McDermott

Sharon Fagan McDermott’s books include Life without Furniture (Jacar, 2018). She lives in Pittsburgh.

2 comments on “Sharon Fagan McDermott: The Summer of Nectarines

  1. Barbara Huntington
    June 30, 2021

    Read at the counter with three peaches, one nectarine, and a small basket of apricots

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , , , , , .

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