The Apple

bite-out-of-an-appleTwo men sit together in the unfortunate

chill of a late April afternoon;

they’re waiting for a bus; one younger,

the other older, and they talk

like they may be grown son and father,

listening while the other speaks,

no humoring or distractions of strangers,

the older man holds an apple,

it has just one bite taken out of its flesh

and it’s been a while, because

the white of the apple is brown from sugar

and air and something more important;

he’s gesturing with it, explaining with it,

as he turns his hand up to heaven

in a plea, he wants to be understood,

the younger wants to understand;

there’s no sign of shame though it looks

like he’s being scolded and upbraided

but about things that aren’t his fault,

he’s listening to hear every word said

because they’re for him alone,

as if nothing matters more, as if

the words are air for his choking lungs,

as if he’s been waiting for this a lifetime,

as if he is a debtor being forgiven,

and the older man stops at his end,

takes a bite of the apple, and the bus

arrives; when it pulls away it leaves

the younger man sitting on the bench,

alone, looking down at his hand,

holding the apple with two bites taken.

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