Am I a hospice care worker for a culture
Grafting from fallen apple trees
Ancient ones, who have lived glorious lives
Are they ready to return to the dust of life?
ready to feed fungi and meandering eaters
Like they once fed lovers, stretched across
Aunt Tillie's Quilt.
I keep them on life support and carve them into young trees
The tree's children we'll dismiss
From the seed they won't come true
Don't they have the right? To surge out into the world?
As different, or as similar from their parents
as delicious or sub-par as they'll taste
"that's just a seedling"
It'll take years to raise that child, and
We've lost too much time to wait
Seven years (when we're lucky to hit 70) before we can unfold our knife
Shave back from the core, and lay her crisp flesh to our tongue
Taste is tied to memory, most deeply
Memory is rewritten every time we remember it
Perhaps that one tree in the meadow of your youth
wasn't as good as you think it was?
I know this--
I asked an orchardist, "What's your favorite apple?"
He said, "I've only every eaten one kind..."
"A good 'un."