The humble banana becomes an expression of welcome, joy, defiance, transition, love, plenty and evidence in this unlikely food poem. Enjoy!
They didn’t come for the bananas,
but everyone who came through
that hole in the wall wanted one,
the West ready with its Welkommen!
mountains of yellow.
After twenty-eight years of concrete-cold
days and only those few flowers
defiant in the cracks of denial,
imagine the yellow-fresh sight,
that spike on the tongue,
the fireworks and flares
shot through the half-language
of heavy machines shattering
the cold Baltic chill, the half-song,
half-wail of horns, sirens and shouts
and behind it all, Beethoven’s 9th,
then that East Berliner, shuffling out,
hatless and dazed in a worm-eaten brown coat
to see it, and not believe it—
the bright yellow word he’ll take home
to his wife, tight in his fist.
“The East Berliner, 1989” by Ginger Murchison from A Scrap of Linen, A Bone. © Press, 53, 2016.