Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

Apples

 

1

 

Apples are important to me.

I could not begin to count

how many, that’s how many I’ve eaten.

I would ask my mom to peel them for me—

she wouldn’t. I’d bite little pieces of skin off,

wipe them on the table or plate. And so pass

the numbers of memory.

 

2

 

I recently had a phase

where every now and again I’d eat the core

because it was good for me, had fiber in it,

whatever. This phase lasted three apples.

 

3

 

As a kid, there was this game

where you twist the stem,

and at each twist, recite a letter

of the alphabet, in learned order—

 

A

 

I can’t think of anyone, but you never snap off

this early anyway.

 

B

 

Becky. You know for a fact she has French kissed

two of your classmates. That’s good.

 

C

 

Caitlin. Crush during first grade, not developing

fast enough. Better options.

 

D

 

Danielle Bazan is rich.

You know what letter you really want anyways.

 

…and so forth until it snapped. The letter you plucked

was the first letter of the girl’s name

you’d marry 15-20 years from then.

A healthy snack and a peephole into your future.

 

4

 

But some would cheat their fates:

a prolonged B, secretly twisting three times at J,

helping Catherines & Katies along and into their lives,

doing them a favor.

Everyone pulled hard for P, because nobody starts with Q.

No one wants to be alone holding a fruit with no stem.

 

5

 

I was honest at that age, consistent, whatever,

nearly always snapping the cord at E or F.

We didn’t have any F’s. E was for Erica.

 

Erica was ugly, we all agreed, us boys

in a cafeteria.

I bet I’d even think that now, depending,

but I’d lie. I’d say I didn’t recognize her.

I would say I did not know her.

 

6

 

Galas are best. They raised me to associate the word

with a fruit and not a party. I’ve never been to a gala,

but am in the middle of finishing an apple. I just finished

the good part.

 

7

 

I read about a historical record of a man

that committed suicide by cyanide poisoning

from eating hundreds of apple seeds,

each containing small amounts of the toxic salt.

I do not believe this record, and if a man could

go through eating the flesh of Eden that many times

and still want to go through with it

he deserves to die.

 

 

 

Henry Goldkamp lives in New Orleans with his wife and three dogs. Most important to him is the spirit of gratitude and realizing how damn lucky all this is. He has been published in Mudfish, Pif Magazine, Asinine Poetry, Espresso Poets' Review and others. If you want to know more about him and his work, simply google search “Henry Goldkamp” with a fresh drink of your choice—there’s plenty to read.