Pomology

I will eat the apple
read Stephen’s note this morning.
He is volunteering to play Eve.

He wrote, I will eat the apple
—but there are no apples in the house.
We have no lascivious Honeycrisp,

no bonny Braeburn, no upright Baldwin.
We’re out of spry Granny Smiths,
the skulking Northern Spy,

or the mysterious Pink Lady.
Stephen does have an Adam’s apple
and I have an Apple computer,

but you can’t compare apples and oranges.
The note said, I will eat the apple.
Perhaps Stephen’s chasing out the doctors.

Perhaps he’s not falling far from the tree.
Or he’s already eaten from the tree of knowledge:
in Latin, malum means both apple

and evil. I think Stephen is sending a warning.
He means, I will protect you.
He writes, I will eat the apple.

 

Related Poems

A Short History of the Apple

The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through
living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.
   —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929


Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber's bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain's honeybees:
white man's flies. O eat. O eat.