Apple of My Eye – Maya McOmie

I.

The forest darkens and
I know you wander it.
I hear bits of song, but
without recognizable
words—like the contents
of my own head.
Even in morning,
no warbles of birds,
only strange rustles
(leaves on branches?
Although they hang
blankly in winter.)

I hardly know you.
I can’t remember
if I sit by a hearth,
or walk forever
among silent trees.

Imagine there must
be some reason
for lingering here,
waiting for something.
I know it is not
you I wait for—
yet sonic memory, as if
your shadow, a recurring
theme, catalyst to
dreams.

Whatever agony,
terror defracts in eyes’
nooks—filed away
quickly—doesn’t hit
anymore; although perhaps
I should not
so easily refurbish:
anger, alarm, rapture.

II.

You might call me foolish,
temperamental—but
that isn’t the story
I am telling.
You barely register
as steadfast; neither
do easy lies draw me
into the cavernous well.

It is only in stories
I believe gap-riddled
capes like that. I grasp this,
in my head. But there
(I deceive myself)
you gave me such
a look; I’m not sure
any more what
part is myth, what
part spirals.

Are
these always so
entwined together,
ensnared? It’s not
just the wall of bramble,
impossible to hack through,
which intrigues me.

Hear this missive:
I won’t be the damsel
you use to escape
your unhappy beginning.
I’m not the catalyst
to your plot. And I don’t
need 50 mattresses.
I have the apple and
I don’t care much for it.

III.

The apple tastes
mealy; ashen
and hard to identify,
with barely a taste.
As if the tongue
steps blindfolded.
Not that I expect
pleasantness these days.

I can’t say I know
what to expect.
Unlike what people
have said about me,
I know I shouldn’t eat
it. I know what they
say about girls
like me. All ebony
and snow. I am not
about to blame it
on my looks. Yes;
I do know; it is why
I am doing it.

Still, I do not
crave banishment.
I do not know what
happens after
leaving the garden.
Or what is left
at chilly doorsteps;
the unopened, unordered
parcel. I no longer
wish to unsee what
the serpent
has told me.

I no longer dread
what emerges
when dusk has passed,
entering the light
after all the whole sky
has hit its peak.
I’m tired, can’t that
be enough?
I don’t want a world
where everything
exists within reason.

Maya is a poet, performer and daydreamer who probably spends too much time thinking about snacks. She grew up with two languages and cultures and her poetry and art attempts to process the complex emotions that are part of being a person. She works in a bookstore where, to much joy and chagrin, she finds at least ten things she wants to read every day.

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