It’s fall, season of the apple—iconic
fruit of this America, mounds of excess
littering the grounds of orchards
from want of migrant hands to pick
the harvest clean: their red the banner
of every girl or woman who tips her head up
to the knowledge of her power—which means
she can see the way things work in the world,
and chooses not to be shamed any longer
for calling it. For what did the hissing
in the leaves tell her that she didn’t
already know, or the laughter behind
closed doors when she ran, groping
her way out? Don’t pretend you don’t
know what I want, said every snake
in the grass. Survival means no one
dies, but someone is forced to take
the fall: the smallest bird, the lowest
fruit—though the fruit isn’t to blame
for its sheen, nor the star for marking
the place where its light was last seen.

Copyright © 2020 by Luisa A. Igloria.This poem originally appeared in Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, 2020. Used with permission of the author.