Sunday, April 21, 2013

5-2 Poetry: EATING PEARS by Kim Welliver

Kim Welliver


They glowed
moon-pale in the dim barn-light

The Fall River house was weighted,
freighted with heat:
a stale dusty scent
of submission, like wool or beeswax,
like vinegar rubbed
into window panes.

The pears were thin-skinned,
lush. I dug my teeth in.

Father, granite-eyed, said
"Lizzie, there is no problem
one can’t crush, if one
but has the will."

Juice streamed, and dripped,
dappled my face and throat.

The house was a flint cinder
beneath the eyelid.
A constant irritant
broken only
by bright flares
of pain.

The bottleflies, blue black noise,
came, drawn
to the sticky-rich spatter.

Carefully, I bathed,
then went in
to find

Gee, this is a perfect poem for me. First of all, I have always found the Borden murders fascinating. I remember reading several books about them years ago and watching Elizabeth Montgomery play her in a TV movie. (In the movie, she murdered them naked to prevent blood splatter!).

In Ms. Weller's poem, Lizzie claims to be eating pears when her parents die. In Michigan, it would be hard to find a decent pear in August, but maybe Fall River has some earlier ripening trees. Doesn't this poem capture the idea of pears perfectly? And the pale yellow of a pear would glow in the dark barn. The stickiness of the fruit continues throughout the poem-could it be anymore sensual? Juice streaming, sticky-rich splatter. The bottleflies drawn to it.

But Weller puts the sensuality of these scenes behind when she has Lizzie bathe, almost anointing herself in preparation for her deed, and then goes inside to murders her parents. Perfect. 

Here's Kim reading it.
You can check out other stops on the month-long Crime Poetry blog tour here. And don't forget to check out The 5-2 for all your unexpected crime poetry needs...or perhaps even your expected crime poetry needs. For another poem about Lizzie, look here.


Anonymous said...

Patti - Oh, this is great! I can see why you like it so. And I've always been fascinated by the Fall River murders too. It's one of those cases where I don't think we've ever gotten the real, full set of answers.

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember enjoying the Elizabeth Montgomery movie. I also like a heave metal band called Lizzie Borden. Don't know much else though. :) Definitely a nice poem.

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