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toffee apple

I lost my wits
in a treacle of sadness
tried to pull them out
reached in clear to the elbow
but my grasp caught hold
and froze crystal solid
like a toffee apple shining
caramel brown and pretty
made me want to take
a bite. But at the very moment
my teeth were sinking in, a foxy
crone with a basket of fruit came
along and stopped in her tracks, saw
what I was about to do, and said: Go
ahead. You chaw down on that sorrow
you been polishin’ like an old brass knob,
you be gnawing off your own arm. And that
wriggling in your belly, come from holding
onto pain you think is creative? Well, it
was once, for sure, but happiness
discarded turns to mealy bugs
of self-importance and they’s
dancing on your grave.

I found a box
(that once held shoes)
of unrequited loves on a
high-up shelf marked with
stuttering purple ink: Woe is m-me…
The shock of seeing all my loves
in one box where they probably
talked, knocked me off my ladder.
When I came to—well, call me
concussed, but where there’d
once been…umm, unrequitement
I saw a rainbow arc of love
fulfilled, full filling, spilling out
I knew, I knew, there’d never be a—

What, you don’t see it?
You don’t see everlasting
evergreen, happily ever
after, love with no end?

Hold on, I have something
here, it’ll make you feel better.
A nice shiny toffee apple.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014