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October 16, 2023

2 Poems

Sarah Mills

Love Poem in an Apple Orchard


My friend and I go apple picking. I promise him

I won’t write a love poem about it. We pluck


apples and sneak bites as we stroll and enjoy

the cornsilk glow of late afternoon.


Suddenly apples begin plummeting from trees

and everyone is screaming and running,


but there is nowhere to hide.

We watch, aghast, as people are bludgeoned


by Braeburns, their apple-jam insides seeping out.

All I can think is this isn’t a love poem,


this isn’t a love poem, while the golden

delicious sun takes cover behind a cloud


as if God is baking an apple pie

and turning off the oven light. 



I Look at Pictures of Birds When I’m Too Sad to Go Outside


I want to let you into this poem. I want us to breathe

the same air. Some days, everything makes me sad—


sitting down to put sneakers on, how late I came

to appreciate birds, glitter. Once, I gave young students


containers of glitter for an art project and for weeks

it was in my hair, my cereal. My sister laughed


and said never leave children unsupervised with glitter.

Some days, it feels like stars exist because a child


tossed up glitter and said night sky. I think I would’ve been

a good mother but then I remember the glitter incident,  


or the time my nephew’s finger got stuck in a toy

and my own finger hurt for weeks. I watched a time-lapse video


of plants moving in a 24-hour period and it looked like

interpretive dance so I filled my home with philodendrons.


I don’t know what I’m trying to say here but I don’t want

to lose you so I’ll offer this image: I saw a photo of a tree


teeming with grandala birds, bright blurs of cobalt,

and I wonder how their nests would sparkle if there was glitter


among the twigs and leaves. I know my lungs will hurt

if I let myself think about this, but I do.