A Short History of the Apple 

by Dorianne Laux

Read by Emma Rye 

 

The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through

living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.

—Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929

 

Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.

Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.

Eve’s knees ground in the dirt

of paradise. Newton watching

gravity happen. The history

of apples in each starry core,

every papery chamber’s bright

bitter seed. Woody stem

an infant tree. William Tell

and his lucky arrow. Orchards

of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.

Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.

Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.

Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.

The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.

Snow White with poison on her lips.

The buried blades of Halloween.

Budding and grafting. John Chapman

in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward

Expansion. Apple pie. American

as. Hard cider. Winter banana.

Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet

by hives of Britain’s honeybees:

white man’s flies. O eat. O eat.

 

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