One of the lovely surprises
about our new also-Turtle Rock Farm
site in the CommonWealth Urban Farm
community of Oklahoma City,
are the plants that lived here
before we came. Mint,
right under the bedroom windows
so that its fresh fragrance
wafts through the house in morning’s rain.
A pear tree on the east side of the house,
where, on sunny mornings, Mockingbird
and now, big pears are ripe for harvesting
and grow even riper, juicier, more flavorful,
after a few days off the tree, (though
some neighbors prefer them crunchy,
right off the tree.)


And, next to the pear tree,
there’s a tree with thorny branches
that produce small, copper-colored oval fruits
called Jujube. Former residents,
a Vietnamese couple renowned
for their gardening, planted the tree.
A favorite of the Vietnamese community
in the neighborhood,
wrinkly, ripening Jujubes
have been the point of conversation
with people walking by
and given me the chance to meet
some Vietnamese neighbors. The little fruits
are thick on the tree this year, plenty
for all of us, including
the sparrows who love them
and are helping themselves
to the ones on the upper branches,
where we mere humans can’t reach.
Jujube skin is inedible,
but easily removed with a fingernail,
to get to the flesh inside—sweet,
with hints of apple and date.
How sweet it is
to reach up in a tree
for a snack!