Nancy: Hard to say how old it was, its heart so hollowed out, but a cloud of pink/white in May. One night a ground burst (mini-tornado) twisted and tore the heavy trunk.
Trees fall. Uncounted trees fall,
but they are like men not in my sight or lineage,
and this tree was my friend. This tree was the link
that promised me continuity beyond fire and abandonment,
and domesticated my dooryard; a friend, this tree.
The wind has taken it. This wind would remake
the wilderness; it seems to blow foe, foe, always foe,
never friend, testing me. Now the wind says that my house
will not stand, forever, by this tree.
But the grouse have not heard the slow word of death.
They come at dusk, fill the branches, and I watch
a miracle; they are fed; apple blossoms become grouse
and fly into the night, transformed and transforming,
bearing away into the air, against the wind,
everywhere, this tree.
Alan: This is the time of year when the coyotes howl closest and a mere porcupine grunting out of sight in the woods seems a portent.
The Demise Of The Halloween Pumpkins
After a decent interval of days
when we’re sure the ghouls have crawled back in their holes,
hauling their sacks of trouble out of the night,
we take the Halloween pumpkins
and cut off their faces.
(Disembodied, staring from the garbage,
these surrogate expressions of ourselves,
our little jokes about mystery and fear.)
We quarter and slice the skulls, pare the mold away
and whittle the rind down to the veined and glowing flesh.
Meaty chunks in the pan,
steamed up for soup or pie or bread,
pumpkins make sturdy meals to fend off the bully cold.
Good food, hearty, these autumn sacrifices,
heads that were trying to say something
we did not wish to hear.
“Apple Tree” first appeared in Cafe Review.