When I left my job I folded my apron like always, tucked
into my hat. Six months since the supermarket rows–apples
stacked once twisted & picked–I check into a dive hotel
in Chelsea with a room the size of my body but free apples
at the desk. At the ferry, a storm culls the sky like a produce knife.
Rain, rain, passing front, then stars: belligerent dappling apples,
sparkling cider in dark sky over Governor’s Island, Lady Liberty
bright as a promise. Squint long enough & any tree will bear apples
or maybe they’re given us to sample on arrival at the farm
in the sparsely-paved pinelands, Maine, littered with unheard-of apples,
varieties that drip summer when sliced, cry & bleed sugar—
cold mustering a nor’easter backstage for after apple
season, the pond cool enough to sting skin while dragging
the dock from its posts to the boathouse. Andy takes an apple
but leaves a basket of late peaches. Uncle!
I had lost my admiration for you. I’m sorry, dear apple,
for leaving you in fascist rows, for the poorly-cut quarters
for the bruised side hidden under a PLU sticker. Apple:
I remember being a mouth full child. Let’s get there sweet,
because we’re all going somewhere to be apple-
sauce. To the loud world, its musty-colored figs, riding the long
whalebone skeleton people marry under, apple
orchards when out of season. Gaunt capillary networks
dull white as a Macoun inside, bone-core of an apple
thrown out the car window on I-95, radio blasting Lady Lamb
on a cyser-crisp Sunday, singing: you are the apple.
I’ll carry my past in a tucked-away apron pocket. We all do, we all
secret away what we found: a kiss, a glimpse, an apple.
I’ll never leave the store. Or my heart won’t, that bloated, red
goat. How I run from it. How I should hold it soft like an apple.
Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry who has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. He writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. He’s working on a website: joeygouldpoetry.wordpress.com
You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines