The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Virginia Cicadas

By Grace Schulman

Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.


I had a pretty quiet Tuesday involving laundry (four loads washed and dried, not yet folded; Adam ironed his own shirts) and taking Adam for a drive, something likely to happen frequently until he has the 60 hours he needs to get his license. (Daniel appears to be in no hurry to do the same.) We stopped at the bank and the UPS store and did a long loop paralleling the C&O Canal in the rain, and he only bumped the curb once, when three police cars with their sirens on went zooming past. Paul worked from home because his office's air conditioning was not working, so we all had lunch together.

Delta and I were discussing the other day how there are lots of Les Mis memes involving Mean Girls references because of Amanda Seyfried and I had never seen it so I didn't get half of them, then I discovered that Tuesday was the last night it was free On Demand on Showtime. So we watched it, and I actually howled through the whole thing -- partly because I knew about half the lines from memes, partly because we all know a Regina, though it stole its best aspects from Heathers and Cruel Intentions. Here are some photos of the cicadas at Gunston Hall last weekend -- Brood 2 is about to disappear for 17 years!


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