(for Michael R.)
Michael, think of an apple, how its taste
saturates all memories of first fruit.
Probably before you grasped the word, €œapple, €
a pome caught hold of you, flavor and firm body
biting through your thin skin.
Don’t you still recall €œapple € by charms
more defined, more seasoned,
more round ripe than the word?
Agitation by a few grains from another blossom,
bulb of pale flower swollen in streams of light,
it bobs for weeks in the weather, distilling.
It sweetens in cool cellars of the moon.
It shapes into all that you remember:
Taste verging on fragrance; crisp, wooden meat;
and color like you like to imagine a heart has €”
life-red and glistening, wet.
Your hand is no stranger to apple-hearts.
Somehow that clarifies what your mind knows,
apple not just as word but as living full savor.
Michael, don’t carry in pocket the word only;
keep the whole fruit ever at hand.
Nor should you rely upon the name,
an apple doesn’t answer to its name.
Nor do we, but to the quick of the season,
immanent, juicy, red-freckled, standing our senses
on edge, now. Forget the word, €œapple. €
From such vagaries people walk away hungry.
With out-held words and ripe, swaying language,
make apples to fill the brain’s deep belly, having first
filled your own hand, cupped your own palm.