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[This poem won the Yearly Contest of the

Women Poets of New York, 1986. Ed.]



My Firstborn Picks an Apple


One day in apple country

on a small hill

dappled with afternoon,

the light stood still.


Windfall about our steps

dimpled the grass

eloquent in praise

of things that pass


while overhead the season

moved without haste

teaching a kind of patience

sweet to the taste.


Four of us linked together

combed that hillside,

your father and I,

you and your bride


sharing your single apple

down to the core,

ourselves whole as good fruit.

Who could ask more


than such an hour,

such hands to hold,

walking in apple weather,

harvesting gold?


                           Rhina P. Espaillat



From Landscapes with Women: Four American
Singular Speech Press, 1999; first
published in Plains Poetry Journal.  Reprinted
by permission of the author.