John Grey
It Could Have Been Different

If I ever wondered what happens
to the unpicked apples,
then here’s my answer . . .
a veritable stew of rot,
crunching and sloshing underfoot.
It’s fruit I could trip up on,
fruit that makes me think of corpses,
fruit that even the crows,
despite their undertaker black coats,
leave alone.

The unpicked women and men,
however, do better.
We walk through November apple orchards,
arms slung through each other.
We haven’t dropped to earth,
to never bloom again.
We don’t turn to mush,
and go to much useless waste.
We just ask, “How are things with you?”
like we’re both still on the tree,
like staying put is harvesting.