by Susan Taylor

Do not sneak up on my tree
and steal leftovers
after the rush of gatherers.
I have eyes in the back of my head,
green as the core of a rainbow.
Apples from the maiden’s pinafore
taste of milk,
apples in the sack
take on the scent of meadowsweet,
but apples, left hidden in the tree,
have leaves withered inside them,
sour as ashes,
and apples on the ground
are wormwood.
Bite a chunk
and the tongue in your head
will kick it out.
Each fruiting tree
is guarded by a colt-pixy,
and be wary —
I am this one’s.
These remnants that I guard
are bad for you.
Make them into cider
and they will give you fever,
aches and pains,
turn your piss to acid.
This is hunter’s moon.
Remember last full moon
when you lay beneath branches
hung so heavy
the fruit dropped at your lips
and you took your fill of me —
all apple nakedness.
That lust of the year is spent,
but for a few seeds
stuck, like Jack in the green,
to swell another season.


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