Aunt Ada thought apples could fix the world
for a while. Daily, she watched out her kitchen
window as countless buds blossomed
into tissue-thin flowers on a webwork
of branches against sapphire summer sky.

Eventually, clusters of Melrose apples ripened
into a ruby-red blush. Sometimes, she would
pile them into a basket or make a quasi basket
of her apron. Like perfect prizes, she floated
them in a flood of hot, sink water. Then,
she peeled each one with a gleaming, paring knife,
rind unwrapping in one continuous strip, dropping
onto newspaper spread on the floor to catch them
as they snaked into a pile.

When she had accumulated a mound of slices,
she rolled dough to create pies and dumplings.
She repeated this sequence until the apples
at the top of the tree were too high to reach.

For weeks, aroma of spiced heat curled
from the stove, a trace of it in every room.
For weeks, apples bobbed to the brim
of the sink. She ended the season having
baked and frozen forty pies. She said
the reason she worked so hard at it
is to share. She supplied friends and family
with these baked confections for as long
as she could obtain apples.

She risked reaching for apples through
yellow streaks of bees, aggravated
varicose veins standing beneath the tree
and for hours at the sink. She believed
the apples were gold and could fill
an empty space like gifts from the heart.