POEM: “A Year of Few Apples” by Kirk Judd

Photo by Moritz Kindler on Unsplash

"A Year of Few Apples" | by Kirk Judd

The red barn mostly barren,
Only some thin whispers of 
Summer Rambos, Pink Ladys, Yellow Transparents,
Our Golden Delicious.
Ladders leaned closely against stark walls.

Past the yard,
Black bottoms of unused boxes and baskets
Stacked and lined on the dark pond’s banks.

Trees naked of fruit.
Blossoms ruined by mid-May freeze.
No buzzing. No bees.
A gaunt doe edging the field.
Sparse soft droppings of windfalls.  

Songbirds fled to feeders
In cities and suburbs —
Tanagers, Finches, Grosbeaks,
Even Buntings.

Pantry shelves and freezer bins
Scavenged for this season’s solitary pies
Settled atop cooling racks
On cinnamon evenings
In oven-warmed kitchens.
Silent cider presses.
Dry spigots over unfilled vats.
Outside the mill, 
Empty crates 
By empty bins
By empty trucks.

Nothing a day
To keep the doctor away.

It seemed somehow 
The end of all good things
The year of few apples,
Came a year of none. 


Kirk Judd, founding member of West Virginia Writers, Inc., has lived, worked, trout fished and wandered around in West Virginia all his life. Kirk was a member of the Appalachian Literary League, a founding member and former president of West Virginia Writers, Inc., and is a founding member of and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, Inc., dedicated to the support and preservation of WV cultural heritage arts. He is author of the poetry collections “Field of Vision” (1986); “Tao-Billy” (1996); and “My People Was Music” (2014), and a co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology, “Wild, Sweet Notes: 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950–1999.” He is widely published and internationally known for his performance work, combining poetry and old -time music.


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