A Song for Sunshine

Photograph by Maggie Padua
This evening when I got home from the store
I laid a bag down on the kitchen table and
said to my wife and daughter, “Check this out.”
My wife opened the bag, pulled out what was
inside and said, “Oh, they’re apples,”
and I smiled. “But they’re not just any apples,”
I explained, and I paused so as to make my
great surprise even greater. (This is a technique
I learned on the city streets: pause if you want
to surprise the shit out of anyone). Then I said it,
“They’re not just apples, they’re Jazz Apples,”
and I pointed to the tiny purple sticker attached
to the red and yellow surface of one of the apples.
“See, it says ‘Jazz’—because they’re not regular
apples, they’re Jazz Apples,” I said, and I nodded
the way I do when I’m driving home a point and
swept up my hand toward the ceiling the way I do
when I’m blown away by the marvels of the world
we live in. My wife looked at me, then my daughter
looked at me and my daughter asked, “Yes, but
are they organic?” and I paused again (a technique
I learned to use in school whenever I had an answer
that I knew wasn’t the right answer), then said, “No,”
and repeated again, because I am a poet who on occasion
repeats a word, a phrase, a line for the beautiful music
it creates, “they’re not regular apples, they’re Jazz Apples.”
Then my wife said, “We can’t eat those, apples are
the worst for retaining pesticides.” And without missing
a beat, without taking the time to breath, much less pause
(a method I learned on my own, because as a poet I am
the inventor of marvelous things people don’t know
need to be invented) I said, “The best jazz is always
a little dangerous,” and my point was driven home
to my wife and daughter, and one day my son who is
still too young to understand will indeed understand
this, and what a great pleasure it is to live with me.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Maggie Padua


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