marian o’brien paul | legacy of apple trees

You know how it feels when you’ve eaten almost all the apple? The sweet flesh gnawed down to the core, thumb on blossom end, forefinger on the stem, not enough apple left for a good mouthful? Years ago, spring flooded our backyard with apple blossom scent so sweet it jerked me sideways when I walked out the front door, pulled me over the porch rail to look at the pink, bee-filled cloud. All summer long we siblings waited while green apples swelled, watched for the first faint blush on apple skin kissed by hot sun, climbed up tree limbs, stretched out arms to reach the fattest fruit. We never suffered apple gripe from eating apples still too green. Adept at finding the best fruit, not even worms warned us off; we’d seen our mother excise bad apple parts and we knew how. The yard is empty now: trees, like years, gone and children old. Where small feet once bared the ground, the grass grows thick. The legacy of apple trees: soil enriched by autumn windfalls. Memory is strong. I still smell apple blossoms on spring wind; taste a just-fallen apple’s sweet-tart juice, the bruise sun-warm; wish the core held a mouthful yet between forefinger and thumb.
Participant in the Poetry as Contemplation and Proclamation Seminar Fall, 2012, Marian O'Brien Paul taught literature and writing for more than 25 years. In April 2013, her poem “Cahokia Mounds, Illinois” appeared in The Midwest Prairie Review (Univ. of Wisconsin). Others of her poems can be found in the “Poetic Asides” column, Writer’s Digest (Feb. 2011) and in The Stony Thursday Book (Tipperary, Ireland, 2010), as well as in various journals, e-zines, and magazines over the years. Her blog: http://nativemissourian.wordpress.com/.
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