Quince

By Ranee Mischlewski


Quince oh quince

My downy yellow prince of autumn fruits,

Cydonia oblonga, Persian apple ,

Adam’s apple (Why didn’t he decline?)

Frog prince, waiting for the kiss of knife

And heat and wooden spoon for fame.​

Waiting.

On heavy branch with brothers six

Upheld by pickaxe handle.

Hard, relieved to leave your mother.

Free herself, relieved to lose the leaves

And weight of autumn sons. And wait for sleep.​

Then peeling, coring, slicing, plunging

Into water, cool with lemon peel and pips

Then warmth. A kitchen’s warmth which softens then betrays

With heat your hard and creamy flesh to pulp. To drip all night

Through muslin net. Bulk of flesh oh mighty quince

Captured from your perfumed self.​

And morning brings

More weighing sugar, boiling, watching, boiling, watching close

Skimming, boiling, skimming, boiling, watching

The rise and fall of syrup. Skim and test.

Skim and test on lowly saucer for readiness at last my prince for jars,

Your scalding essence funnelled into jars of garnet clarity.

With royalty and clarity is filled

The glass for winter’s feast. All gone by spring

When mother tree begins to stir with blossom,

Leaf, white sap, and dreams

Of downy kings.