Hoeing an Apple Tree

Photo by ihorbondarenko

To hoe, not only to protect fruit
but this toddler apple tree’s future.

Sharp blades reveal grassy hiding places,
between sore arms and slim trunk, where rabbit, vole and mouse
otherwise curl, chew away bark, tender wood.

Above, large-lunged apples breathe sighs of relief,
their progeny safe for another winter, a sturdy white spiral
at foot stands special guard.

How can this sapling,
with only slight encouragement from bees,
issue forth something called a granny?

I pick a prime one as reward,
blazing green, speckled, slightly blushing,
smelling faintly of tea,

And make anywhere I choose 
to take each tart bite,
a hiding place for me.

Cynthia Gallaher

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet, is author of four poetry collections, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems about Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices; and three chapbooks, including Drenched. Her award-winning nonfiction/memoir/creativity guide is Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet. Though not a Quaker, she is a believer.

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