A tall persimmon tree spread its orange fruit
In sick-sweet droppings beside the white house
Where I was eight. It never once occurred
To me that I could eat the mushy fruit
That lay upon the ground -- they were sweet meals
For butterflies -- giant red-spotted purples
That flocked in numbers as dense as the fruit.
This old persimmon gave the only shade
Nobody ever wanted -- orange fruit stuck
In shoes and toes. The smell of rotting fruit
Replaced the air. Black butterflies few up
If we would come too close. The smell and mess
Made mother hate the old persimmon tree.
I loved it for the butterflies it drew.