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Paul Willis

Good sir, I beg of you to understand
the ripening kumquat almost in your hand.
It grew because it could not choose but grow

between the sepals of the flower you know
was here in April--or was it July?
In Santa Barbara there’s no reason why

spring should not wait till summer or reverse
the sequence of the seasons since the curse
brought sweat upon your gentlemanly brow:

the only time known under heaven is now.
That’s why I’m asking you to reconsider
your superstition that the highest bidder

has sole proprietary right to pluck
this kumquat from its late-October luck
to hang untouched in crimson public splendor:

the serpent was a private grocery vendor.
What can you grasp? Release the tender fruit
of eye and heart, and then of earth and root.

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