Ode to the Apple
Shara McCallum

Ode to the Apple

I won’t linger over your fall from grace,
your myth tainted by the facts.
If anything, it was a pomegranate,

not you, hanging in that garden. Instead,
I’ll extol the virtue of your latest hoodwink act:
spliced and grafted, you replicate hunger

perfected. No surprise,
when I bite your flesh I detect
the perfumed rose, another we’ve lassoed

to desire. No surprise, fearing our own
rotting we wax your skin—its sheen
rivaling this dying star we orbit.

Maybe my father was merciful when
he peeled and sliced you open,
rendering you more palatable on a plate.

Oh, but that was some time ago,
and I’ve since grown a taste for tart, for bitter
lacing every sweet. And you

could never deliver the kind of freedom
I’ve long been after—to have no need
to make an Eden of this world, or any other.

Shara McCallum

is a Jamaican-American writer and the author of five books of poetry, most recently Madwoman (2017). Her work has been widely published in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Europe; has been translated into several languages; and has received such recognition as a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress and an NEA Poetry Fellowship. She lives in Pennsylvania and teaches creative writing and literature at Penn State University.