APPLE TREE—MY SON ENTERS RECOVERY
Haven’t been to church
since before his injured shoulder
and the pills and fumes
(in place of food and rest)
that filled him with the emptiness
of the used car lot balloon man
tethered to a clunker,
whapping in the winds.
Haven’t practiced gratitude
or giving in to grace.
Been too busy cringing,
eking out excuses.
But now and again I get glimpses—
like the stray kitten I let in
made of play, or the call from my son
to say he was clean
and was craving our apple crisp.
How could he have known
of the ancient apple tree’s revival?
After the sorry output of recent years
how can it be so bountiful?
So many laden baskets,
so many batches of sauce.
The house seems to levitate
on the scent of simmering apples.
And the compost brims with wormy scraps
carved out of abundance.
Donald Levering‘s most recent poetry book, Any Song Will Do, was published by Red Mountain Press in 2019. His previous book, Coltrane’s God, was Runner-Up in the 2016 New England Book Festival contest in poetry. Before that, The Water Leveling with Us, placed second in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Book Award in Creative Verse. Levering is a former NEA Fellow, who has won the 2018 Carve magazine contest, the 2017 Tor House Robinson Jeffers Prize, and the 2014 Literal Latté prize.