Issue > Poetry
Celia Bland

Celia Bland

Celia Bland’s essay, “Secret Book Written in the Dirt,” originally published in The American Poetry Review, will be included in an upcoming collection devoted to the poetry of Jean Valentine (University of Michigan). Madonna Comix, a collaboration of poem and image with artist Dianne Kornberg, will be published later this year. She is writer-in-residence at Bard College.

Broken To His Hand

He ate apples seeds and all. Eugene ate the core.  
He plucked stems from his lips like fish bones.  

I have never tasted the wood of an apple, although spongey slivers were my practice—
an apple every day: topographical with leaf mold, a small world;  
antipodes red as the inside of my mouth or his tongue. A is for apple.  

There were no fruit trees in our yard; it was a car yard, a lot.  
I was straight as something pliable but standing, unweathered sapling.  

I sat in the dusty muffled heat of other people's car's upholstery.  
I described the ticking of katydids and dashboard clocks, the hollow
throats of trucks, the clanging bell of freight trains
traveling latitudinally south to north.  

Scrub pines grow pliable and strong by the tracks, ripe with sap and nutty cones.  
He smoked pot, seeds and all, popping tiny spots of red as the toke passed from mouth
to mouth with all the sloppy slap-happy I developed a vocabulary to forget.  

"Pass the joint," he'd say, nodding toward Larry or Steve or Sammy in the broken chairs
in his garage. And I would.

I was a scrub pine along the tracks, tip to branch as stacked lumber yearned north,
kathunk, thunk.
I was rooted.