All morning my daughter has been picking apples.
She brings them in a brown paper sack,
she is happy, she offers me one.
A while ago, thumbing through an early Life magazine,
I came across a photograph —
a solemn group of schoolchildren — and thought
of what time does, of how their faces
must have changed as the photographer finished
and they broke from their neat rows,
became men, women, old.
My oblivious child empties her sack
into my lapů For the rest of the day
she plays quietly, moves them from room to room
with her dolls and animals, at last arranges them
in tender patterns on the rug.
Now, late at night, I want to write something
that can be offered, taken, eaten. If I say
window, sky, white apple, if I think of a black branch
bending but not breaking, will I have said
what I mean — that tonight, as I watched her
smoothing out a dress for morning, carefully,
before she turned her face up for a kiss, I knew
she had already gone from me, into her life.
Children in a photograph, the tart sweetness
of apples, my daughter's fingers
grimy with soil and smelling of her sex.
She mutters in her sleep. I keep a bowl
on the kitchen table, filled now with apples,
the hard, shiny fruits
I will bite into, one by one, savoring each.
The Philosopher's Club
BOA Editions, Ltd.
Copyright © 1993
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by mamazine.com with permission of the author.
Kim Addonizio's third poetry collection, Tell Me, was a National Book Award
Finalist. Her most recent collection is What Is This Thing Called Love, and her first novel Little Beauties has just been published by Simon & Schuster. Kim lives in Oakland, California, and you can find more information on her at: kimaddonizio.com.