The weather is benign in early October.
On the orchard floor are the apples
economics left to rot,
red striated with yellow,
bruised or gnawed hollow
or beak-pocked. One sound fruit
you can pick from the branch,
yielding to your palm,
an offering from the tree
as if it bribes you to be kind.
Your family that owned this land
go back more than two millennia;
they marched with the legions,
and, inter-marrying, settled here.
A medieval prioress, whose sisterhood
was drunk on cider;
a Georgian general who helped to lose America
but gave his name to this variety;
a Victorian canning magnate and his sister –
the lady explorer in skirts on a camel,
who, so they say, planted an espalier among the palms;
an admiral who fed his men on crates of eaters
until his ship split off the Azores.
Do Bedouin camp
beneath the blossom in the Sahara spring?
Did a fleet of migrant apples
bob to the tune of the Atlantic Ocean?
You bite through the peel and reach the core,
pocketing the pips before you turn.
The last of the line. Your hand signals the digger in.