The Woman You Love Cuts Apples For You

The Woman You Love Cuts Apples for you

and stirs them in sea salt and vinegar
She takes a drag from her Silk Cut
.
eases again through the fruit’s flesh
the blade stopping short of her thumb
.
You are both sweating at the shoulder
(East Ham’s hottest summer) and you realize
.
these are not the times to come to poetry
You have everything you need
.
and your father’s bone-hard stare
can’t reach across the Atlantic
.
so you save yourself for another day
because there is this woman’s slicing apples
.
stirring them in vinegar and reminding you
of an afternoon twenty five years ago when
.
you knelt with your brother at your mother’s
feet to pluck apple slices from a small basin
.
pinched between her legs And one of you
would lift that bowl– almost completely empty
.
except for a sour clouded liquid
and a few seeds shifting at the bottom
.
You’d just taste it at first but soon your handing it
from brother to brother gulping lung-fulls
.
of that tart cider You’d sweat sniffle gasp chug
til your lips turned white and numb
.
and before you went out into those Jersey streets
you’d rinse your chin You’d soap your hands
.
because the girls would hold their breath
for every reason and stink on your fingers and neck
.
You won’t dare tell anyone you’ve learned
to love the taste of something so strange until this
.
woman cuts apples for you in vinegar
and the familiar fumes fill your nostrils and gullet
.
She will lift the bowl to drink She’ll twist her face
and laugh when she offers it and you will drink
.
and she will drink and you will drink again
She will kiss your cut knuckle She’ll kiss your eyes
.
Of course the vinegar stings
It’s the hottest summer ever in London
.
and you and the woman you love will fall asleep side by side
like this– reeking and unwashed–breathing in
.
each other’s dreams of open skin
.
.
— Patrick Rosal


Merry Christmas! For the rest of the week, I’ll be putting up poems that make me happy, in hopes of making you happy.

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