We gathered wind-fallen
           apples for the horses—

hard little knots of promise,
               with brown, scaly blemishes.
                           Kissed by the sun, my mother said.

My grandfather once planted the gnarled trees
           on the hillside heading from Jackson Run
           to the farmhouse.

I was too young to know
                            a body must be limbed for love;

that left to the elements,
               we rot, we scar. Still,
                            the horses didn’t know any better.

They devoured with foamy relish
               even the meanest of crabs,
                           only good for our snowy palettes as pies or strudels—

or sauce from the apples
                    when it is still tart and warm, but barely.

Those un-tempting apples are my childhood.
               Buried deep in one,
                            the worm of my mother wriggles to the surface;

a bathing cap still on,
           and around her expanding midriff, a robe bound tight;
                           her honeybee sunglasses

glinting the fallen world back to us
           in a field of a thousand mirrors.