Aubergine by David Holper


Aubergine
by David Holper

You can tell its ripeness by the deep lush purple
of the skin, the tight, taut feel it has, so you can
depress a finger into its flesh—and they will answer
by welling into your fingerprint.  They are clan

of the nightshade family, their darker cousins. 
My father used to cook them up 
into baklazhannaya ikra, poor man’s caviar, 
and we feasted, knowing no better of the real thing.  

How light they are, in hand, after they turn.  Much like the dead,
after their spirits have fled. My father’s body only ash
in the urn I held in hand.  The boat paused, just near
Sausalito, and I gazed out over the waters.  How I had

hated him, how I had loved him despite his anger, his scalding wit.
How he loved to laugh at people to show them how little he thought
of their pretenses.  If he drank, be prepared, we’d say. If he smoked, 
it seemed he’d set the house on fire. The urn in my hand 
 
felt round and black as some bitter aubergine.  Are there any words 
to forgive such things?  I leaned out and poured those bits of bone
and ash upon the waters, speechless, yes, 
but trying my damndest to empty him out of me forever.

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David Holper is a writer and poet. He served as the City of Eureka’s inaugural poet laureate (2019-2021). Holper has published several books of poetry, including “The Bridge” (SequoiaSong Publications) and “64 Questions” (March Street Press). He is currently working on his first novel.

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