by Jack Gilbert
The ship goes down and everybody is lost, or is living
comfortably in Spain. He finds himself at the edge
of emptiness, absence and heat everywhere.
Just shacks along the beach and nobody in them.
He has listened to the song so often that he hears
only the spaces between the notes. He stands there,
remembering peaches. A strange, almost gray kind
that had little taste when he got them home, and that
little not much good. But there had to be a reason
why people bought them. So he decided to make jam.
When he smelled the scorching, they were already tar.
Scraped out the mess and was glad to have it over.
Found himself licking the crust on the spoon. Next day
he had eaten the rest, still not sure whether he liked
it or not. And never able to find any of them since.