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  • I Watch Her Eat the Apple, and: Métis, and: If Eve Side-Stealer & Mary Busted-Chest Ruled the World, and: Hand-Me-Down Halloween
  • Natalie Diaz (bio)

I Watch Her Eat the Apple

She twirls it in her left hand, a small red merry-go-round.

According to the white oval sticker, she holds apple #4016. I’ve read in some book or other of four thousand fifteen fruits she held before this one, each equally dizzied by the heat in the tips of her fingers.

She twists the stem, pulls it like the pin of a grenade, and I just know somewhere someone is sitting alone on a porch, bruised, opened up to their wet white ribs, riddled by her teeth— lucky.

With her right hand, she lifts the sticker from the skin. Now, the apple is more naked than any apple has been since two bodies first touched the leaves of ache in the garden.

Maybe her apple is McIntosh, maybe Red Delicious. I only know it is the color of something I dreamt, something I gave to her after being away for ten thousand nights.

The apple pulses like a red bird in her hand— she is setting the red bird free, but the red bird will not go, so she pulls it to her face as if to tell it a secret. [End Page 68]

She bites, cleaving away a red wing. The red bird sings. Yes, she bites the apple and there is music— a branch breaking, a ship undone by the shore, a knife making love to a wound, the sweet scrape of a match lighting the lamp of her mouth.

This blue world has never needed a woman to eat an apple so badly, to destroy an apple, to make the apple bone— and she does it.

I watch her eat the apple, carve it to the core and set it, wobbling, on the table— a broken bell I beg to wrap my red skin around until there is no apple, there is only this woman who is a city of apples, there is only me licking the juice from the streets of her palm.

If there is a god of fruit or things devoured, and this is all it takes to be beautiful, then God, please let her eat another apple tomorrow. [End Page 69]


There is a dawn between my legs, overflowing mad rouge birds, crazy-mean, bronze-tailed hawks, a phoenix preening sharp-hot wings, pretty pecking procession, feathers flashing like flames in a Semana Santa parade.

There are bulls between my legs, a toreadora stabbing her banderillas, snapping her cape, tippy-toes scraping my mottled thighs, the crowd’s throats open, shining like new scars, glowing from beneath hands and white handkerchiefs bright as bandages.

There are car wrecks between my legs, a mess of maroon Volkswagens, a rusted bus abandoned in the Grand Canyon, a gas tanker in flames, an ihs van full of corned beef hash, an open can of commodity beets on this village’s one main road, a stop light pulsing like a throat, a police car flickering like a new scab, an ambulance driven by Custer, another ambulance for Custer.

There is a war between my legs, a wager, a fight, a losing that cramps my fists, a battle on eroding banks of muddy creeks, the stench of metal, [End Page 70] purple-gray clotting the air, in the grass the bodies dim, cracked pomegranates, stone fruit, this orchard stains like a cemetery.

There is a martyr between my legs, my personal San Sebastián leaking reed arrows and sin, stubbornly sewing a sacred red ribbon dress, the carmine threads pull the Colorado River, clay and creosotes from the skirt, each wound a week, a coral moon, a calendar, a begging for a master, or a slave, for a god in magic cochineal pants.

There are broken baskets between my legs, cracked vases, terracotta crumbs, crippled grandmothers with mahogany skins whose ruby shoes throb on shelves in closets, who teach me to vomit this fuchsia madness, this scarlet smallpox blanket, this sugar-riddled amputated robe, these cursive curses scrawling down my...


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pp. 68-74
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