Produced by Dennis Camire
This week’s poem is by former Maine State Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl of Portland.
By Betsy Sholl
Crisp air, press of ladder rung on instep,
tree sway and dappled light. Then stem twist
and the weight of apple in hand—
reaching through that leafy light, did we ask
what else we were after? Some desire
to possess the whole splendid day, sun glint
on grass, September’s slow withdrawal,
the drying leaves sparse now, so the apples
were little flames. Strange that we make
one fruit both medicine and poison,
prescribed and forbidden, as if everything’s
mixed, and there’s no forgetting that darker
hunger at work, blind to the damage it does,
ego’s bad apple, poison in the star
and gravity, gravity, gravity.
But then windfalls in wet grass—paradox
of fortune—how sweet for the bees and wasps
who find the cores warmed by the sun
into a heady liquor, and sip. Once
we had a wooden apple made with such skill,
more than one person picked it up
thinking to bite, until our dog finally did.
We found it under the couch, splintered
and pocked, and with stern voices banished him
to the yard. As if once down the stairs
he wouldn’t happily enter that bright world
of rock and dirt, nuthatch, beetle, squirrel.
Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]