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November Apples, Hudson Valley
by MJ Moore
The red barn and orchards shelter
beneath the Helderberg mountains.
Changeable weather and mottled sky
predict a midnight frost.
Traveling families swarm the small store,
an interminable line for cinnamon-dusted donuts.
Young children cluster round two young goats,
pat them, pull back,
as the goats lick and chew.
We have come to pay homage to your parents.
Every Albany autumn, your family drove
winding roads through brilliant colors.
You and your brothers spilled
from the station wagon, scattering ducks
as you ran whooping up the slope.
In their turn, our sons,
sparked by the sharp mountain air,
kicked crackling leaves
in their race to the stand.
One last time I slip into the shed
crammed with bushels of ripe apples--
McIntosh, Red Delicious, Empire,
Jonagold, Cortland, Gala--
names that evoke centuries
of firm bright skin, crisp flesh.
Dozens of different scents tossed in air
mingle, begin the splendid descent
into fermentation and decay.
Mesmerized, I slowly spin,
seized by memory.
The heady concentration of something perfect
in this moment.
Pick it, eat it now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MJ Moore lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her various incarnations have included technical writer and editor, grassroots environmental activist, first grade teacher, poet and flash fiction writer, wife, and mother. Strongly bicoastal, she thrives on salt air, wind and waves, but also loves mountains, deserts, forests and streams. Writing for her is a source of vision and joy.