poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Too Late


Late evening light sorts the leaves

of an old apple tree beside the backyard deck

an heirloom variety whose name I almost recall…

Pippin.  Newton Pippin.  Grown by presidents

Washington and Jefferson  

Late for whom, you ask?

for what?    the hovering night

coming on to receding daylight

for what they make each evening

as if they’d just met on a dance floor

and were too young to know restraint

later, much later

after a dozen apple children

small green misshapen with black spots

we could have sprayed for 

but didn’t

we taste a few

sharp, barely sweet, almost bitter

They ripen in storage, but we won’t wait

they’re not our uses, these seeded capsules

gathered and discarded

we’d eat their lunch

their sunlight parent run off 

to the other side of the world

another continent, another grounding

where early is yet merely hinted

where the great weight of timely turning

     has not stalled

but has been briefly, sleepily forgotten

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