My Wife Peeling an Apple

By on Feb 13, 2018 in Poetry

Partially peeled apple

She takes the apple in her palm
and presses the paring knife
under the flesh just below the stem.
As if it required no thought,
as if it were natural as falling asleep,
she spins the apple slowly
with one hand, and pulls
the blade toward her other thumb.
It’s like watching an ice dancer,
or a gymnast on a balance beam —
you’re sure that every next move
will slice jaggedly into her,
and fall to the floor in a clatter,
blood dripping to pool at her toes.
But she doesn’t break eye contact,
not even a pause in the conversation;
red skin, pulled from white flesh,
hanging below in a slow twirl
like a music-box ballerina.
And when she’s finally done,
she slides the knife out
with the slighted tug, a pinch
between the thumb and forefinger,
lays the peel on the counter,
and excises a perfect wedge for me.
I, who would have used a peeler —
a safe, plastic contraption, and shed
the skin in dull patches into the sink,
because she is offering it, take the fruit
in my mouth straight from the blade.
cold, crisp between my lips, my teeth,
and yet, I have not pulled my eyes
from the peel, reposing on the gray marble
in all its glorious concentricity.


Robert Pfeiffer received his MFA and PhD in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. His first collection of poems, Bend, Break, was published in 2011 by Plain View Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals internationally, such as Mudfish, The Connecticut River Review, Indefinite Space, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, The Flint Hills Review, Freefall Magazine, The Concho River Review and The Fourth River. He is an associate professor of English at Clayton State University and lives in Decatur with his wife, daughter and two dogs.