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David Epstein

Not words alone pleased her. —Milton

And when the orchard breathes

its bitter apples back at me,

the rain runs all the ink on your old letters

that I left out, that they might take some sun. Thus

are fictional children born, your terms pouring off your page, swept up in a day

they couldn’t see, watering arugula, peony, and ice. These

days I’m willing to take you into my life as if

you were an orphan underfed of air, a blue child

whose heart doesn’t so much beat as crinkle,

the ink in your veins a fable. Set the scene:

small-town theatre marquis, lights out, gum-spots

on concrete underneath. Full-length glass doors,

locked. They stand seeing their reflections, hands

clasped. Behind them—behind us—not Main Street but

Jonagold, Gala and Rome.

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