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Sap and Superstition

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He sent me a picture

of a long sinuous line, dark

as entrails and wet,

curving on the floor.

‘Sappy,’ he wrote. ‘But

I want you.’

 

‘I want you,’ I replied.

 

I could not quite

smell apple-flesh

and the air suddenly redolent

of borderlands,

early sunsets,

the season trees begin to dress for death.

But I thought of apple skin clinging

to a curve, yet unshaped

by apple-sorcery. I thought

of my mouth pressed against

flushed skin,

my breath coming back to me:

a premonition of the first

sweet bite, and the second.

 

‘Did you throw it over

your shoulder?’

 

These things have their rules.

Don’t let the skin break,

as it curls away from your thumb and knife.

Don’t let the skin break,

as you set the gold-fleshed fruit down.

Don’t let the skin break,

when you toss it.

Listen for the almost inaudible

slap when the peel hits the floor

and the future arranges it

into your lover’s initial.

Witness.

‘I did,’ he says.

 

What is sap? A sticky

mess, a syrup,

sweet-bitter with smoke.

A sugary crusty

tallow ripple

cleaving

the bark. An injury

which leaks a

sweetness —

The vascular system of

flowering things;

movement;

life.


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