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I Watch Her Eat the Apple

She twirls it in her left hand,

a small red merry-go-round.

According to the white oval sticker,

she holds apple #4016.

I’ve read in some book or other

of four thousand fifteen fruits she held

before this one, each equally dizzied

by the heat in the tips of her fingers.

She twists the stem, pulls it

like the pin of a grenade, and I just know

somewhere someone is sitting alone on a porch,

bruised, opened up to their wet white ribs,

riddled by her teeth—


With her right hand, she lifts the sticker

from the skin. Now,

the apple is more naked than any apple has been

since two bodies first touched the leaves

of ache in the garden.

Maybe her apple is McIntosh, maybe Red Delicious.

I only know it is the color of something I dreamed,

some thing I gave to her after being away

for ten thousand nights.

The apple pulses like a red bird in her hand—

she is setting the red bird free,

but the red bird will not go,

so she pulls it to her face as if to tell it a secret.

She bites, cleaving away a red wing.

The red bird sings. Yes,

she bites the apple and there is music—

a branch breaking, a ship undone by the shore,

a knife making love to a wound, the sweet scrape

of a match lighting the lamp of her mouth.

This blue world has never needed a woman

to eat an apple so badly, to destroy an apple,

to make the apple bone—

and she does it.

I watch her eat the apple,

carve it to the core, and set it, wobbling,

on the table—

a broken bell I beg to wrap my red skin around

until there is no apple,

there is only this woman

who is a city of apples,

there is only me licking the juice

from the streets of her palm.

If there is a god of fruit or things devoured,

and this is all it takes to be beautiful,

then God, please,

let her

eat another apple


from When My Brother Was an AztecFind it in the library

Copyright © 2012 Natalie Diaz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Natalie Diaz Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.