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The apple pickers

by Christina Gleason

At home, it is still there,
the spoiled cider heavy
in the trees of our palms,
the vinegar scent thick
and sweet on your neck.

I turn to you, blushing,
a McIntosh's heavy red cheek
under bark-brown hair,
smelling of body and hay.
Everything is in my nose.

We ride the great rusted
tractor at day to Braeburn
and Rome, Red Delicious
breaking white and sour
under the slow hitching.

In the orchards we climb
ladders and swing branches
to the ground. The fruit
fly, wobble atop each other
and loll at our feet.

I pick one from the tree,
push my two fingers into its soft,
brown head and it leaks and sticks
between our clasped hands.
Everything is in our hands.

We walk to the barn in step,
and sweaty arms full of bags
are heavy with our labor;
with our grey mud boots, we crush
rotten apples in the path.


Posted on 03/09/2005
Copyright © 2024 Christina Gleason

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