Apples stacked behind the tomatillos and French sorrel
Dusty with lumps compared with their waxed retail siblings.
The brown-gray authenticity coats rhubarb and dill
In the stationary caravan of boxes and baskets.
Sellers with beards, loose shirts and jackknives,
Freed of barcode, fluorescence, and background music
Offer slices of pear and yellow cheese with crusty bread,
Offer transformation, an embrace, a green seduction, a rural trance.
Products measured by eye and sold by the handful,
By penciled purveyors who assist the illusion,
One-lane roads, tractors, a wobbly table, and trust,
As a taxi passes and a cop gives a ticket.
“What farm grew these?” you want to ask – but no,
Why make the inquiry? You anticipate a blank response, then
Someone will ask one of the brothers who owns the show
And lives in a split-level on a sixth of an acre.
One of the brothers who shops at the East Harbor market at 0500.
And crates the apples in boxes stamped with the family name,
Arringham’s Market, on Saturdays, in a concrete parking lot
Used during the week for executives of a brokerage firm.
Bring your dog and tie around his neck a checkered bandana
Breathe the cloud of sweet vanilla and freshly baked wonders
Pies and breads made at a small factory just north,
Only a few minutes from the entrance to the tunnel.
Andrew Frederic Popper has taught at American University, Washington College of Law for the last three decades. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 University Scholar/Teacher of the Year. He is the author of more than 100 published novels, casebooks, articles, papers, poems, and public documents.
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