The Grey Fox
I couldn’t believe it
When I saw him
Flashing beauty against the blinding snow
Limping along the fence inside the yard,
The artificial boundary between
The world and the wild.
Carrying one leg, he owed
No explanation for the breach.
Just beyond the fence at the woods’ edge,
Regal and ramrod straight,
He sat down and stared intently
At me through the window
Already a ghost
My memory his only heir
Before coyotes delivered his fate.
What an honor to be sought
By what’s broken,
To be called to testify
To the struggle.
I need to talk about apples.
City folk only know the famous ones:
Red and Golden Delicious and Winesap
Gala and Granny Smith.
A few who remember the smell of woodsmoke might name
Summer Rambo or Juneapple.
Just as with most things,
What is popular is the least substantive.
The apple has been simplified, smoothed-out
Commercialized from the untamed perfection of creation.
They mutated and crossed and were reborn
In every conceivable combination of traits.
Purists study and propogate them,
Attempt to bring the obscure treasures
Back into our hands.
There are books devoted to cataloging them.
Adding to the list of hundreds and hundreds of kinds.
Their names lilt across the breeze
Cox Orange Pippin and Virginia Beauty
Arkansas Black and Mountain Boomer
Roman and Ruby Red and Sunday Sweet.
No other food comes in so many varieties.
Why are there so many kinds of apples?
Corn and beans and potatoes have no such abundance.
Could it be that the story of The Fall,
The saddest of family stories
Points to the answer:
For such a sweet and lovely thing
As an apple to wear that burden
Of symbol of sin,
It must become every kind imaginable.