Joe Cottonwood

When we lift our arms
apples seem to jump to our fingers
as if squealing Pick me! Pick me!
while we navigate among chickens
underfoot and a guard-rooster
who glares, who disapproves,
who follows our every step.

Bees from a stack of hives
hover and buzz about our ears.
Sun heats, shade cools,
the hose washes apple-skin sugar
from the flesh of our hands.

It is not toil it is faith
as beneath our feet roots pull
nourishment from earth,
water glistens from leaf-tip
and I cry to the sky
Pick me! Pick me!

Author's Note: My friend Rick has about a dozen apple trees that he planted over the rich earth of his septic drain field. Each tree is a different variety, many are heritage. My wife and I spent a delightful Sunday afternoon gathering fruit. That evening, I sat down and wrote this poem in one quick draft.

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Joe Cottonwood has worked in the building trades — carpenter, plumber, electrician — for most of his life. By night he is the author of nine published novels, a book of poetry, several songs and many podcasts. His most recent book is 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses. His poems appear in journals worldwide. If you need help rebuilding your front porch, he would welcome your call.