The 30 by Jill McDonough


Jogging toward the bus on Columbus I see it’s already crowded, squeeze my way to the back. I think it’ll get worse in Chinatown, but I’m wrong. This early the produce shoppers still crowd the sidewalks, admire bouquets of hanging lacquered ducks. Shipping containers full of persimmon-colored persimmons, a red-gloved woman picking over the lot. Guavas, broccoli, collards, grapes of every description. November, persimmons thirty-nine cents a pound. One woman nestles in with me and four others in the way back. Comfortable, we’re sleepy as puppies, not worried: nobody smells. She turns her iPod up, plays “Tell Me Something Good” loud enough for us all to hear as we pass Jade Galore, Fat Tang Hotel, persimmon piles big as Volkswagen bugs. After “Tell Me Something Good,” it’s The Cure, “Without You,” and we are happy, snug in our collective nostalgia, passing the Modesto Food Distributors truck: its slogan, Poultry in Motion. Yellow transfers safe in our pockets. Good for all trips till ten.



Three-time Pushcart prize winner Jill McDonough is the recipient of NEA, Cullman Center, and Stegner fellowships. Her books include Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), and Where You Live (Salt, 2012). She directs the MFA program at UMass-Boston and 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online.