After Hearing a Woman Say the Heart is the Same Size as an Apple

By Kelli Russell Agodon

Previously published in Small Knots (Cherry Grove Collections, 2004)

I begin to consider which one I keep in my chest.

A small pumping Fuji or Bailey Sweet.
I am part pie, part fritter, part turnover
in bed and listen to the thump thump thump of an Empire,
the whisper of Paula Red, the morning yawn of Sunrise.

When I say I love you I taste cinnamon,
sugar, my coated center
beating again. Never bitter, I toss the green ones
to Adam, halve another to find a star.
O sweet apple of my–

      unpeeling, pale white


    skin appearing in your hands.

My mother plucked the low ones
from trees planted the year I was born.
Every harvest, carrying ribs
of baskets to the orchard, we gathered each heart.
Hours later my hands were red, but I continued,
nothing more than a fist opening and closing.

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