Three Poems by Michele Reese


My grandfather had a coconut farm, and every coconut has a face—hard eyes atop a softer mouth you can tap for clear water.

Different cultures possess their own manner of husking and cracking the shell to expose the bright white meat.

A falling coconut can kill. If it lands in water, it can drift and make a new home on another shore.

In Contemplation of an “Ornamental” Banana Tree on the Grounds of a Resort While Vacationing

Bananas taste sweet
and bananas take heat—
hired assassins with machetes in Macondo.

Agricultural progress diverts
rivers, peels away politicians,
and bunches troops to bruise . . .

I have never liked bananas,
monopolies, or plantations.
Plantains are better,

fried with a dash of salt.

Antoine’s Graft

When I see the pecan trees aligning the circular drive, my immediate worry is the correct pronunciation of the Algonquian word for “a nut too hard to crack by hand.” Founding Farmers Washington and Jefferson were domesticators of this autumnal fruit running wild and native, which would survive the kingdom of cotton to become a southern delicacy.


Michele ReeseMichele Reese is the author of the poetry collection Following Phia. Her poems have also been published in several journals and anthologies including Atlanta ReviewCitron Review, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Kestrel, The Paris Review, Chemistry of Color: Cave Canem South Poets Responding to Art, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race, and Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poets from the Carolinas. She is currently a professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter.