an apple a day

Doubtfully, she glanced sideways at the apple, certain that nothing creative was going to flow from her womb this evening, though she’d been surprised to see the word ‘lovemaking’ there on the free-association list she’d brainstormed earlier in the week, while waiting. Each time she visited that particular room at the doctor’s office, she’d perched in the same blue chair, pulling it away from the blinds, into which it was always so carelessly shoved. There was something about the spacing of seats that called her to uncharacteristic order every time.

This evening she pulled over the other porch chair to prop up her weary legs and picked up her pen again. Though she’d intentionally flipped it off on her way, behind her the kitchen light switched on again, casting both shadows and light through the blinds at her back, on the other side of the glass.

The evening was so unseasonably warm. The entire winter had been so. Turning her pen’s attention to her great granddaughters, to whom she wrote to each evening, she wondered if their March evenings would request of them summer weight fabrics and cool drinks.

The sounds of the traffic distressed her, though she knew she could choose otherwise, as her yoga instructor had suggested, choose to stay out of judgment regarding what her senses brought into her awareness. She could choose to bless each motorcycle, tractor trailer, airplane, be grateful for them, but she wouldn’t. Not tonight, when their constant clamor drowned out the chirping spring peepers and overwhelmed any potential rustling of dry leaves being stirred by the breeze to rise from their turned-down winter beds.

That stubborn apple beckoned from behind the cooling mug of spicy vanilla chai tea, but with so much distracting noise, her eyes were instead drawn to the sky. Always somehow that sky offered her peace, but especially tonight in this place stripped of silence. There was quiet out there somewhere, she imagined, beyond the drone of traffic and the chaos of commotion. Her heart longed for such a place.

She would not write about the apple –full, round, smooth, organic, whole, bruised, juicy, dripping down her chin pleasure, fearless love-making – she would write about her heart, the way it longs for wild places, quiet places, intimate places. She would write about the way these tulip tree limbs, in all their gangly adolescent yearning, reach for that same dark sky, about the dark sky that silhouettes them so gracefully, adorning their skinny limbs with tiny jewels, appropriate for ones so young.

If she were in Algonquin, the sky tonight would surely be littered with jewels, like some overflowing treasure chest that she could scoop her eager hands into and draw up handfuls of preciousness. The loon would be punctuating the night air with its plaintive song and she would be lying on her back next to the lapping water, letting herself be filled.

But tonight, she would settle for Orion’s belt encircling the slender neck of Tulip Poplar, who just last year flowered for the first time, while Venus keeps watch from the west and the neighbor’s dog barks to be let in.

The apple invites her to take a juicy bite, to seal her lips around its fullness and slurp her sweetness into her hungry mouth. To let the precious drops flow down her chin to catch upon her outstretched tongue. She’s heard it’s good for her heart.

Her heart yearns for sweetness such as that, for such a flow as that, a flow that makes it pump a little stronger, a little faster. This inertia makes it weak. Her flow pools around her ankles, causing them to swell.

In the distance, a train passes through the neighboring town, not nearly the assault on her senses as the traffic had been earlier. It beckons her return from distant places. She notices that the earth has rolled again with her upon it. Orion has been taken off her slender neck, laid aside on the dark table of the sky. The dance has ended for the night.

Returning the chair to its place, she picks up the unbitten apple, carries it inside to the other side of the blinds, and shields her eyes from the light.

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