The sun glistens on dew of green.
With bark standing straight
Taller and wiser than the dark, broken shingles to its right.
Branches drooping under the apple’s weight
Hang heavy like the arms of a willow.
We run faster than our feet can carry us
Where our past selves, round faced with short legs
Find the round and small rotting apples on the dirt.
Unlike our fresh cheeks, their skin feels of leather from age.
The leaves blow in the wind.
They fly as time travelers, making ripples that flood through time and space to now.
Loneliness nuzzled in recollection.
In memory I find myself,
Placing rotted apples in laundry baskets as I taste the fall gale.
In the backyard of the small plot,
The tree bows in recognition of the old lost and new gained.
For she has watched me grow
And held my hand as I took my first steps
She is always bronze, strength exuding from her.
With broken branches, she smells of life.
Her grasp reaches far and wide to the heavens,
And her golden leaves fall slowly to the earth,
Letting us know she has given us her children
Until I remember
That the tree stands no longer.
What is past must stay there.
The apples have fallen their final fall.
Sam Smiley is a writer from Racine, Wisconsin. They currently live in Chicago and study physics at DePaul University. Sam writes poetry and short fiction inspired by their experiences in the midwest and their year abroad in Thailand. They are non binary, use they/them pronouns, and can be found on Instagram @wordsflowlikewater.