The apple that rests on the boy’s wooden table is ruined by the fingers

of dawn. Headrushed, nightridden, bothered by an onslaught of wings,

he walks to the mountain on the margin of town. Not much happens here

except in his head, the roan visions of the city he’s left, the ripe yellow

flocking of promises slowly unraveled by the lengthening drawl of summer.

In that city, painters work in dim hollows and the horoscopes are sad.

On the train some mornings, women wield combs, force the hair
on their daughter’s heads to lie flat. But he is thinking now of the man

who told him he’d dispel his fears, jump the gun, that he’d wait for the boy

by an uncommon river in an endless procession of autumn. A week ago,

the two of them sat by the water as fireworks mounted the skyline,

watching the afterglow fizzle out, cling to the latticework of trees.

Each light becoming the sound of departure. The man’s face shadowed
as the mountain. Silence between them then, as now, a fruit they cannot touch.