Stamen, Stem, Or Side

Stamen, Stem, Or Side long poem

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You can learn a lot about a person
watching them eat an apple
even watching them in the supermarket
give them a five dollar bill and tell them
pick out any apple you want, it’s on me
those store aisles so safe and the isles
among the aisles with their produce pedestals
and bountiful hoppers hold forests of broccoli
cords of carrots and cucumbers
their pebbly skin greased and gleaming
maybe you’ll hear a peal of quiet thunder
before the moisturizing spray begins
you can run over to the stunted torsos
the licorice-smelling fennel and stick
your head into the mist – imagining
a cool quiet Niagara Falls or maybe
a play fight you had on a summer morning
all the kids, boys and girls both,
out running topless shooting each other
with squirt guns and spray misters
rolling in the grass despite the threats
of tick and chiggers, feeling no fear
for liver spots and melanomas, just skin
darkening in the sun likes it’s supposed to
so damn the bees and bring on
the water balloons, climb up the apple tree
here comes the gentle threat from above –
maybe they’ll pick out a winesap or fall
to the tart favors of good granny smith
but choose they will a thick-bellied fruit
see it weighed and paid for before
you take them to a table and listen
to that first crisp bite like God flipping
the switch that revs up the dynamo
that mixes the very galaxies around.
Then you can assess – did they bite it
in the middle or nibble it near the end
can you see the broken line of their teeth
in the wound that they caused – that first
bite tells you many things do they lick
their lips or tolerate the juice to bead
the spaces between their stubble beard –
but mostly you will tell when they set the apple
down choosing stamen, stem, or side –
because to set the fruit down on the side
is to invite the fellow creatures of the world
to come inside and love you – to choose stem
means you fear your own birth and regret
the first wound you took, the unhealing eye
of your navel – to choose stamen means
that you will do your duty and die one day
return the blessing of your body to the ground

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a poet from Seattle Washington USA. His poetry has appeared in print in publications such as Bellowing Ark, Point Nopoint, and most recently in Contraposition magazine. When not writing poetry he is a Human Resources professional, a repentant glutton, and a novelist specializing in the weird-fiction genre.
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