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Poem-a-Day

Crabapples

CRABAPPLES

I remember their ugliness
Like girls in class
Who were kind to me
The tree held them
Out to us like beggars
Outside a church
Selling portraits of saints
Torn out of books
Smiling we shook
Our heads and went on past
Into the cool kitchen
To eat sweet store-bought apples
Granny Smiths and Honeycrisps
That had been picked green
And gassed red in the trucks
But some days we'd stop
And take a crabapple
Shaped like a cramp
In our hands
Wary of worms
We turned and turned them
Like Adam and Eve
Resisting temptation
Before taking the bite
That exiled us all
Sour and mealy
They dried out our mouths
So that we spat cotton
In a pantomime of autumn
We dropped them
Down through the bee-hum
Into the cidery mash
The lawnmower had made
The shape of our mouths
Browning in the grass
The color of regret
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