From the September/October 2005 issue
I peel the apple,
Sitting with my mom at the kitchen table.
She peels quickly: in a few swift moments
One twisted apple peel sits on the cutting board.
I try to copy her, but no –
The knife slips and
Cuts off a small chip of the red peel.
Trying again, I get lost in the smell of the ripening fruit
(Sweet, almost sickly sweet),
Filling the room with a scent like my grandma’s house.
And I start to remember the first time
The first time I had her apple pie –
I wrinkled my nose and said, “Too sweet!”
(Now it’s my favorite dessert.)
The first time I buttoned up my coat
To keep out the cold on an October day,
The first time I read a book
To my mother in broken, unsteady words,
The first time I tied my shoe
After hours of torture and trial –
And as I think of this,
I barely notice the one, perfect apple peel
Sitting on the cutting board in front of me.