A knife cuts into the apple, invades ¬
the core and releases seeds, littering
the counter as they break from their shells.
The meat is white, but a large bruise taints
perfection. The rejected apple remains
on the counter, where time will do more damage
like the bad apple who stared out the window,
drawing on the desk. Sweet sixteen
looked at me, eyed me up and down.
Your dress is ugly. She smirked and glared
while thank you sunk in, but sarcasm failed
to erase the doodle. The girl turned
toward her classmates, then added a footnote–
Why did you buy that sack? She exited
to the office, one seed in the wind.
I smoothed my dress and turned to the others,
but they were distracted, a couple hunched
over phones. The rest of the peck was turning.

Holly Dunlea was born in Boston and grew up in its suburbs but spent most of her adult life in New Hampshire. She blends her love of nature and music with experiences on Cape and in the north country. Holly’s poetry is published in Literary Hatchet, The Raven’s Perch, DASH Journal, and Crosswinds Poetry Journal.