Monday's poem

Apples (for Odette)

- Peter Olds

I made my way through the thick wet grass
down to the apple tree at the back of the section:
"You'll need a ladder if you're going to pick apples,"
you said. But the wind had stripped the tree.

You are surrounded by love, and those who love you
take care of your every need - monitoring the comings
and goings of visitors; boiling the jug for endless
cups of tea; adjusting the white blankets on your bed.
Your orders are very clear: "Make sure everyone has
something to eat ... Pick two bags of apples - Cindy
would like some for her horse ... And please come
again - but not before my treatment on Wednesday ..."

I easily felt them under the thick layer of leaves -
some pecked out by birds, white flesh not yet
browned. Others, whole, covered in slime, slipping
to the surface like apples floating on water.

• Peter Olds is a Dunedin poet. A new collection, Skew-Whiff, with illustrations by Kathryn Madill, is due out from Otakou Press in September.

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