Wild Apples
Mike James

       for Lori Wilson

so, here i am gathering apples
behind a neighbor’s foreclosed house

andy and lauren moved away last year
the house, bank owned and empty since

over the years, this tree grew (untended,
accidental) in the corner of their acre lot

in the part of the yard they left
to weeds and shrubs and never cut

it takes at least eight years to grow a tree
so full of knotty, spotted, sour green apples

my grandfather called these horse apples
they grew wild in pastures he once knew

the fattest ones are the highest, near the sun
no horse could reach those

with my ladder and a paper grocery bag
i’ll get enough for two pies

one for me and another for a neighbor
out of work, but still in her house

since sometimes dessert comes before the meal
as grace can come in the harvest of wild things

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