when i left i was unearthly happy,
more than i’d ever been.
that trip took longer than it should have
for pulling over, to have those words
when i got home the apple blossoms were gone
and i thought that odd, but it was spring;
there had been rain with may headwinds,
and i thought everything would be fine
but summer came and it was not fine, it was blue-gray
a cold, damp, soul-dread of a long night.
the blossoms did not get to set fruit,
only a dozen apples took
they told me they didn’t want my blood.
the ink (got up north, then carried south,
words carved deep into my heart over winter
etched fresh on skin before i left)
rendered me unwanted by more than a few
these things fill my time:
apples and blood, apples and blood -
and this year i have the excuse of neither
when i most need the excuse of each
words: to comfort my own heart,
not at the cost of another’s.
apples: to feed and bless the friends;
blood: to keep a stranger from the deepest chill
there’s always next year, I think.
except we’re not promised next year
but the blood is ever made new,
and that handful of apples ripen slow.