The Apple

People drank the apples          John “Appleseed” Chapman
planted       during his Ohio migration

to Marietta by catamaran          his scattered orchards slated
to be hatcheted in the name of            Prohibition

before the Women’s           Christian Temperance Union
repositioned the Hard Cider               Nation, traded

knock-down drag outs for                    blossom-punched pie safes.
Cure-alls,              they called them, rewriting the story

of the vegetarian eccentric                who once punished his foot
for squashing a worm   by throwing away his shoe,

wintered             in a carved-out sycamore
outside Defiance               likened his ways to a bumblebee’s,

lashed a side car            of moss-cloaked seeds
to his hollowed hickory           canoe—

Malus domestica
from Malus sieversii,       wild sour fruit from the Old World

botanists have traced         to Kazakhstan—
died wearing a coffee sack        leaving a 1,200 acre estate,

snake root and joe pye weed           trail sentries, first waft
of seasonal shift in the swamp gas,         death

come to the luna moth he woke to find           on his chest, silk-soft
dust of her scales under fingertips               and himself

bathing in Little Soddy Creek            losing his matte finish
of pollen drift        a bobcat-stalked piss, nubby crow’s feet

carpet in which he washed       apple-fleck-sized spears
from prickled hands                   looking

into a night sky       stars not white but red,
green-white          fleabane-colored, yellow

at the center with lavender edges          if he kept his open eyes
fixed                        on nothing, his dust body wet.

Amy Wright is the nonfiction editor of Zone 3 Press, and the author of four chapbooks. Her work can also be found in Bellingham ReviewBrevity, Drunken Boat, Quarterly West, Southern Poetry Anthology (Volumes III and VI), and Tupelo Quarterly. She teaches at Austin Peay State University and resides in Tennessee, whose beautiful, defensible waterways help her current project, Creeks of the Upper South, written in collaboration with William Wright.

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