The air is filled with mist, yet a transparent mist, a principle in it you might call flavor, which ripens fruits. This haziness seems to confine and concentrate the sunlight, as if you lived in a halo. It is August.
—Aug. 29, The Journal of Henry David Thoreau
It only seems to gather for a moment, and
I become wrapped in it, like
the two waterfowl entwined over water—
the moment of an apple tree and mist
at the same time.
The image of apples falling.
There was a small apple tree in
my mother’s backyard
that grew for years. The bark was
twisted, gnarled, uncomfortable, from its
isolated position in the back-40.
The side facing the house was covered
in poison ivy.
Deer used to wrap themselves
around it, very early in the morning,
before the low, country fog was
swallowed by the sun.
They had a way of standing
behind it, positioned between
the tree and corn fields,
wrapping their necks around
the trunk, reaching for low apples—
though never those on the ground,
for they had long since drowned
in the wet grass, and pursued collapsing.
Very early one morning, I kneeled
by the house, and waited.
First, there were birds finding their way
into other trees.
Then the deer, two fauns,
collecting one apple at a time.
They were like pale shadows through
that low misty haze, not all there
like the nightly shadows, not fully
evaporated with the sun.
Before it was over, I watched their forms
fade back into the corn fields.