Genine Lentine

Interview with the Pear Tree

When did you start making pears?
What is a pear?
(she runs her fingers over one
hanging on the branch)
Mmm. Yes. It began
before I could be seen,
when the great body rang,
striking, for the first time, the earth.
Over the long day, it lay in the sun,
and the birds came, and the flesh
fell away until all that was left
was the seed. Maybe it was
when the moon swelled
the seed, maybe
when the first true
leaf quickened.

Did you always know you would make pears?
I wouldn’t know how not to.
What is your process?
I let the leaves
come to the branch
and when the bee is at the
blossom, I listen.

Is dormancy difficult?
A period when nothing happens.
(The tree pauses)
I’ve never had one.
What about drought?
I spread my root hairs and wait.
Do you ever doubt?
When the bud breaks the green wood.
Do you ever think of making apples?
What is an apple?
Could you describe the kind of pears you make?
(A ripe pear drops into her upturned hands.)

Genine Lentine
“Interview with the Pear Tree” is from Mr. Worthington’s Beautiful Experiments on Splashes (New Michigan Press, 2010).