Linda Malnack

Double Life of a Still Life


They breathed
once, planetary in their skins, red
ripe, indebted

to the sky, but attracted to earth.
Yellow lanterns
hung by wind, pears over marigolds.

And peaches,
their washes of fuzz hazy in the blue
dish beneath

a reincarnated sun and its pitted
lover, the moon
who looks, ever looks into the white

will be. So this
is what fruit becomes, longitudinal
light, its juice

running, the weighty abuse, a glad
letting go.
Grass’ sweet buffer–romance,

seeds, skinned
knees. All in the time it takes to deal
a blow, a hand

of hard luck: pulp slick in the dirt,
last life of a still
life brown in the orchard, and you

taking what was,
what is, and smearing its sad cider all
over your hands.


“Double Life of a Still Life” is reprinted from Northwest Review.


Linda Malnack has published poems in many journals, including The Amherst Review, the Seattle Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She won the Willow Springs Poetry Award in 2000 and the William Stafford Award (Washington Poets Association) in 1998. Currently, she volunteers as an associate editor for the poetry e-zine, Switched-on Gutenberg.