Apple Tree

Apple Tree

growing up on Lynch’s Lane
my brother and I always loved
fall when apples sparkled
on Old Viv Drover’s tree
and we slipped over the fence
from Cec’s backyard to stuff
our pockets full of apples like
sour stones after a season
too short for anything but
potatoes carrots turnips
but we still stole the apples
because they hung on a tree free
ate a few and threw the rest
like grenades in the war games
we fought constantly like
democracy depended on our defiance
slipping over the fence in October
dark like we were winding through
barbed wire on the Berlin wall
intent on espionage and escape

last August I remembered the raids
on Old Viv Drover’s apple tree
while standing in the backyard
of my brother’s house in Mt. Pearl
outside St. John’s Newfoundland
where an unlikely apple tree stood
in the corner because my brother’s
six-year-old grandson suggested
with infectious hope they plant
an apple tree since an apple a day
will keep the doctor away but no
apples could battle cancer and on
the day of my brother’s funeral
he and I are still sneaking over
the fence in the cool dark autumn
evening to steal the last apples
on Old Viv Drover’s tree bulldozed
decades ago for an arterial highway
even though the apples still taste
hard sour stomach-slaking as always.

by Carl Leggo

From Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees. Lesley Strutt (Ed). League of Canadian Poets. 2018.

Submitted by Veronica Gaylie

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