Ferment

by williamkupinse

drove through the host
of ground apples, each a fistful
yellowgreen halfglobe facing
skyward, spring hue razzing
the heavens’ impermeable grey 

but the earthward hemispheres
would be pulpy brown
worm-stitched and mealy
liquefied past sugar
cider aged in the rind’s winesack

weekly yardsweeps taught me this
balancing three or four boozy
apples in each gloved hand I’d
stumble a dozen clowning
trips to the compost bin

I thought of tales of elephants
drunk on spoiled fruit and
musth charging villages
but my backyard fauna teetotaled
raccoons nibbled only the good side up 

then December I saw into the tree itself
which held a lone apple decayed
to soil’s verge but dangling still
on stem defiant drunk
still on his feet refusing
against advice to call it quits

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