“About Those Apples” by Cindy Putnam Guentherman

Cindy Putnam Guentherman


She is the apple of his eye.

One crisp Labor Day
when bands were playing in the distance
and the apples were red on our trees
and my husband had put his hands
around my neck and banged my head
against the wall one time too many,
I quietly gathered up the kids and
disappeared forever.
Fear can make a person do crazy things
and so I left most of the household stuff
behind, paid all the bills, set the checkbook
on the kitchen table and locked the door
behind me. I had already packed the
remainder of the garden into jars.
But when we finally talked, he did not
say I love you
or I miss you
or I’m sorry
or please come home. Nope.
He said
but what am I gonna do
with all these apples.

from Prompt Poem of the Month
December 2023


Prompt: Write a poem that begins with an idiomatic expression that you take literally or incorrectly, and see where it goes.

Note from the series editor, Katie Dozier: “The voice of this poem feels like peeling an apple in a single strand, but with a sudden, biting shift in narrative that gives it more weight than a barrel of fruit. The kind of poem that leaves you bobbing afterwards; I was particularly riveted by how it turns the idiom on its head twice.”

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