The Eden Tree

All your affections are apples.

Some you set up higher than others,
Giving them a glimpse of the distant trees and two-lane streets
Behind the crosses of the pines, and across the garden,
Dreaming up a world far away from home.

Others you set lower,
Taking a chance with who would come for them.

But tell me,
Did you never fear that some child might come and snatch them
Just to toss them at the goats?
Or use them as baseballs?
Or dash them against the brick wall on the back side of the house?
Perhaps you took that chance knowingly,
Because secretly you had hoped that he or she would come
And pick one
And see you for more than your fruits,
But as an intricate and deliberate being,
One who was organized in your own way.
All you wanted was someone who would understand your apples,
Someone who would return on occasion with a book and determine to stay Indefinitely in your shade,
Contented by you, and just you—
The tree.

But the majority you were undecided about
And you left somewhere in between,
Safe, you thought,
Unaware that time would weigh heavy on them
And make them soft and leathery brown on the bottoms
Where they had fallen and rested in the wet green grass.

Still others you lost for different reasons…

There was this one time
Erik and I jumped on a tree’s branches
And shook down all its apples onto a blanket
So that Mamaw would make us apple butter.

I really am sorry
If you happen to be the apple tree by the gate to the pasture.

~Hunter Williams Carter



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