by B.A. Goodjohn


“The best apples are at the top of the tree,” the boy says. He points to a cluster with his long, willow switch. “They’re destined for fruit bowls. Too good to juice.” Even from here, I can see they are perfect. I can imagine the weight and warmth of one in my hand.

We are standing in whip-thin grass. Not thigh high, but high enough to conceal those who have fallen. Fallen apples are sweeter. They are sweetened by time.

One lies by my foot. She is not perfect. I can tell this by the way she turns her spoilt side to the soil in an attempt to conceal imperfection. Her skin is beginning to pucker, and is too red. Not the clean red of the apples at the top of the tree. Hers is the color of old curtains. Velvet and dust. One leaf still grabs at her stalk.

The boy is still talking perfection as I watch this windfall. She’s crying into the earth, shedding tears for the blossom she once was, kissed by the bee. Sobbing because she’s forgetting all those pink nights swaying in the breeze, because her skin will never know the icy rub of a cut crystal bowl, and that it’s all been for nothing.