Wild Cider | Diana Whitney

You inhabited me for weeks like an illness
and the fever demanded sustenance
and I fed it wild apples and blackberries,
spring water and dew, summer’s ambrosia
sating me, sating you
until the fever broke.

Scatter the poppy seeds in November
when the cold kills everything:
my friend offers me a slim envelope
of tiny black dots, light as dead insects.
Our faith is imagining a bed of bright petals
blooming out of this austerity,

but look at the body, breeding blindly—
at six weeks, a pea-sized blip pulsed
on the screen and I held my breath
on the paper sheet. Black and white pixels
swirled and morphed into gray galaxies
but I knew the interior was layered dark red,

lush and fluted. When the blood finally came
it was dark as velvet, hesitant as a small brook,
nothing like a river. Still the body fought
to keep what it began—holding on, holding on,
curled inward in pain. All resistance is pain.
I let myself be dragged, fingers grasping

at the seasons, fists beating back change.
Never mind the winter looming
like the shoulder bone of a whale, my heart
contracted like a ball of ice on Mars
wrought from red dust and alien atmosphere.
Let October in flaming tumult pour

her pitchers of light into the canopy.
Drink it deep like wild apple cider,
the hard green apples got with difficulty
from a high gnarled tree, yielding
a quart of tart elixir, fox red and chestnut,
the feral essence pressed from the fruit,
the sweet intensity I want life to be.

————
Diana Whitney‘s first book, Wanting It, became an indie bestseller and won the Rubery International Book Award in poetry. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, Salon, The Washington Post, and many more.  She is the poetry critic for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs about the darker side of motherhood for The Huffington Post.  A yoga teacher by trade, Diana runs a small studio attached to her Vermont farmhouse.  www.diana-whitney.com

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