This was the scent that marked the end of summer
and the inevitable waltz into autumn's
colorful dance of crisp air and sweaters:
Cousin Tommy's delivery of
his annual bushel of gravensteins
from the tree at the end of his drive.
This was an afternoon of peeling and slicing -
always with the sharpest of paring knives -
never, ever with one of those newfangled things
made for the woman too helpless to handle a knife.
This was the trip downstairs to the big freezer
with trays of sliced apples to quick-freeze
while applesauce simmered upstairs
on the stove top and canning jars sterilized
in the hot water bath drawn for the occasion.
This was the cooking lesson given
at the kitchen counter
because every good woman must know
how to make a pie crust from scratch
and how to fill it with the perfect thin slices
tossed in sugar, a pinch of salt
and some lemon juice.
This is the scent that each year fills my kitchen
and for an evening transports me back
to that table where I watched the good woman
take that first satisfying bite and felt the season
wrap its arms around me and deliver on its warm
sweet promises once again.
“Fuck Atlas,” she sighed,
pouring another glass of wine
and adjusting her tiara.
“He doesn't interest me nearly as much
as that dude who wandered through the dark
looking for an honest corporation.”
I didn't have the heart to tell her
she had it wrong
or perhaps she didn't have the heart to tell me
she had it right.
The Barefoot Corporation is slouching toward Bethlehem
and we are freezing to death in the heat of global warming
that cannot be agreed upon. Pundits quote experts
that I have no lines for, as the Expert Poem
has already been written and discarded
as inadmissible evidence
of this endless effort
to divide us along lines
that keep us in
unable to draw a circle at least
a hundred feet round
and use what we find within
to think our way
for Charlie Kaufman