Among grass short clipped, reaching up. Touching laden earth bending branches to lighten from the grouped fruit. Two trees planted apart grow together, mingling similar though slightly shifted leaves. Right trunk fostering cherries a maroon deep dark verging black. Left bearing berries a brilliant red picked clean by birds directly from the branches, all that remains are pits on stems dangling in clumped bunches, skeletal fruit. Briefly sickness rolling in, the familiar feeling finds me sitting under leaves that form a waving shade, until the nausea passes. Onset unknown, stomach concentrated. Encircling several cherries in my hand, rotating in slight changing directions each is parted from the slender stem without being damaged, cautious process. Clear glass mixing bowl in my left hand for collecting the pile rising higher with repeated motion.

Content not to take too many, walking home soon going up the porch stairs, glinting glossy fruit jitters each step. Cascade raining into the strainer a dark red deluge under running tap water for washing, shaking the collinder back and forth, turning from the bottom gently the delicate berries. Glass bowl washed, and a cutting board. Lifting several berries in the right hand, for each one thumb and index finger compressing gently. The pit will slide out of the thin part where once there was a stem connected, into the left hand then to the cutting board. In constant motion continuing until only pitted cherries fill the bowl, pits piled on wood stained red. A process is revealed for each examined, it is possible to establish a rhythm between the connected movements.

Outside, my neighbor Ray is moving, parting from his house, it leaves me on the verge of tears. A turning point, a past hold out. Once houses full of families and friends playing games growing up, running through sprinklers in the near fields under melting hot sun. Ray is one of the last people living here. Half the houses have been ripped out of the ground leaving vacant lots, the rest empty unrented except those not owned by the university. A few of us remaining middle isolated in growing desolation. What the university owns is empty or flat, Ray finally sold his house. Yesterday official plans were posted announcing the construction of a new dorm, across the street, over rays house. Pieces of childhood fading as land contents rearrange, another process unfolds.

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