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.
From The Book of Men, published by W.W. Norton. Copyright © 2011 by Dorianne Laux. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
The author of several collections of poetry, Dorianne Laux was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award for her book Facts About the Moon. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020.
Date Published: 2011-06-02
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/short-history-apple