The rowan is the sign of the thinker,
its fruit as bitter and seedy as thought.
Thin, orange pulp barely covers the pit.
Birds and deer avoid the rowan’s berries,
eating them last, after the frost.
I once knew someone who claimed
to have eaten this fruit.
It was something to tick off his list
like the juniper berries he smoked
or the rainforest he later visited.
One must boil the fruit, strain it
through cheesecloth, sugar it,
ferment it, or serve it
as a jelly with gout-giving game.
But he never mentioned
the rowan’s fruit was
as if he had gulped it down,
Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is… . Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press and is available here. Her first chapbook is available through Kind of a Hurricane Press for free here.