Paula Cisewski

The Glacier
Issue One
Fall 2022

The Apple Tree

This summer a tree expert came out to tell me the pockmarks
in my apples were probably maggots getting fat inside the fruit. 
I judged those apples rotten, though they were perfect 
for the worms, and it was perfect that I felt like a failure, 
because I had failed to tend one tree. Later, a friend 
came over for tea. While we looked at pictures,
something I misremembered about an image 
of victory being an uneven burden worked 
its way into our language. Unconsciously 
I tried to impose that on her, as if she didn’t 
have enough going on choosing a best path 
forward. Sometimes I remember and sometimes 
I misremember and all the while the president 
is trying to detain everyone. I know what makes me safe-ish
but I don’t want to say it and that’s why I say it when I do
clumsily like I just learned a new word in a second language. 
Jabłka is apples in Polish, which I am teaching myself, 
and which would be my other first language had it not 
been smacked from my father’s small mouth by a kindergarten 
teacher who wanted him to assimilate whitely. What if I say
it’s a gift to know what it means to have been the grower 
of a maggotfeast? Can I throw the pocky apples 
in the compost and learn something new before spring?

PAULA CISEWSKI‘s fourth poetry collection, Quitter, won the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened Everything (Burnside Review), Ghost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing privately and academically and makes things at Yew Who Studio and Beauty School Press.

Artwork by David Dodd Lee.
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