white apples, first apples of summer,
with skin as delicate as a baby’s,
crispy like white winter snow.
your smell won’t let me sleep,
this is how dead men
haunt their murderers’ dreams.
this is how every july the earth
gets heavier under your weight.
and here only garbage smells like garbage…
and here only tears taste like salt…
we were picking them
like shells in green ocean gardens,
having just turned away from mothers’ breasts
we were learning
to get to the core of everything with our teeth.
so why are our teeth like cotton wool now…
in black waters, the fishermen,
nursed by you, are drowning.
Copyright © 2008 Valzhyna Mort (Trans. Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright and Franz Wright)
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.