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.


    ‘I did,’ he says.


    What is sap? A sticky

    mess, a syrup,

    sweet-bitter with smoke.

    A sugary crusty

    tallow ripple


    the bark. An injury

    which leaks a

    sweetness —

    The vascular system of

    flowering things;




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