She read me a poem about her mother, “The Apple Knocker.”
I half-listened, too busy to appreciate her mother’s pain while knocking apples to the frosted earth.
She had to smack apples off and then sell them, eat them, or turn them into pies and applesauce.
“Nice poem,” I said, already forgetting it.
The black and orange caterpillars move ahead of winter.
Black and grey ones follow.
Red, orange, yellow, brown and tan leaves crunch under foot sounding so much like cold milk on Corn Flakes.
Wood splitters groan, cut and toss maple and birch chunks.
Watery fog lifts under sun, and the colored leaves and pine trees reverse – reflected in the black lake.
White wood smoke rises, stays, and later, drifts.
Where was I fifty years ago?
How did the apples, leaves, caterpillars, wood and smoke pass me?
Those years, the haste, the intrusions: gone.
So I stop, kneel and almost touch the caterpillar’s tiny soft bristles.
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, early October 2013