After Picking Apples by Nate Pritts

My computer is aglow, sharp afternoon
glare from slanted kitchen windows,
from sun that will eventually kill all of us.
I try to check my email but I can’t
see the screen. Nor do I want to. The kitchen
smells of apples, the scent of apples heavy
in the mind of my heart, the deep sense
of autumn, the fact that I am a person.
All the different types we picked this morning.
We went to an orchard that humans planted
on purpose & we stayed in the lanes
between the trees that were ready & ripe.
The ones that were safe instead of the ones
a sign said might actually kill us.
Macintosh & Gala & Gingergold & Honey
Crisp. Kids running everywhere overjoyed
because apples are ridiculous, hanging
wherever you look. Thousands. Outside
the apple trees are all pointing to heaven.
I looked up to the tops of the apple trees,
me also looking toward heaven. We heard kids
getting yelled at, Mom & Dad declaring
the whole day ruined by outbursts & screaming.
I wanted to kill those parents because
they’re killing their kids. The sun, up above
in heaven, will kill us anyway. I’m just here
in my kitchen, where it smells like heaven.
I’m drowsing off while I write this, my hand
holding the pencil & the paper making noises.
I shut down my computer because it’s useless
on days when the planet is dying so brilliantly.
It seems like the paper resists
each word I put down. Like maybe it wants
something else for me. Some other ideas
or some better noble sentiments.
No more death, no more dying, no more
heaven. Just regular sentences & autumn days
falling to earth to bruise & then rot.


Nate Pritts is the author of six books of poems, most recently Right Now More Than Ever. His poetry & prose have been widely published at places like Southern Review, American Poetry Review, Passages North, Court Green & Rain Taxi where he frequently contributes reviews. He founded H_NGM_N, an online journal & small press, in 2001 & serves as Director & Prime Architect for its various endeavors.