I feel them in the pit of my stomach
with each miserable thud;
the walnuts falling
to the ground in the rain.
They roll together
under the dark wilting spindles.
They cluster and pile and build,
but I don’t want to deal with them—
to get that smell on my hands
that won’t wash off.
Rough yellow-green husks,
left to rot, left to fester,
turn soft, bruised. They swell
and become fragile and sore until
one touch and the skin tears,
and the thick, dreadful sludge erupts,
staining the leaves a foul black.
And when it has washed away,
there is only the closed, hard shell
at the heart.

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