Barefoot Diptych

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June 20, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Rachel Laverdiere

 

Click here to read the poem in the original formatting.


Rachel Laverdiere writes, pots and teaches in her little house on the Canadian prairies. She is CNF editor at Barren Magazine and the creator of Hone & Polish Your Writing. Find Rachel’s words in journals such as Lunch Ticket, Anti-Heroin Chic, CutBank and Pithead Chapel. In 2020, her CNF made The Wigleaf Top 50 and was nominated for Best of the Net. For more, visit http://www.rachellaverdiere.com.


For accessibility screen readers

I suspect the wind tangoed with the apple trees last night—tossed the fruit from branch to branch at dizzying speed. Each missed boleo must have sent a blushing apple spinning to the grass. I chuckle at the thought of apples curtsying to a mustachioed wind.

Barefoot, I step off the deck onto the dew damp grass to gather evidence. I’d like to think that, were I an apple, I’d have risked the safety of attachment for the chance of a thrill. This is my tendency in love—me sailing free rather than refusing to let go. I fill the belly of my shirt until it overflows. 

Countless apples litter the lawn, while others cling to their boughs. This task calls for a bucket and a plan. I’m too lazy for jelly, not much for sweet, and my shelves are lined with last week’s batch of apple butter.

In the pantry, I glimpse the bucket next to the jars of apple chutney. Last summer, when I hadn’t quite become this version of myself, the man I then believed was my one true love declared the chutney (and me) perfect for his palate. I served it over goat cheese on toasted baguette. The sweetness prickled my tastebuds, but I held my tongue. 

I gather the sun-kissed fruit basking beneath the bright sky. Mouth watering, I envision extra ginger and jalapeños. This batch will be decidedly tangier.

Before we were us, I hid many things from the world. Like my wild side. And my feet. 

One sunny afternoon, we lounged on my deck. You kissed my toes and declared them beautiful. Anointed them with flamingo pink polish.

We drove north to where grasses shu-shush-shushed and birds hovered in the sky. I kneeled before you, freed your feet from their shoes, their socks. Kicked free my sandals and marvelled at how my prettied toes sparkled in the sun. We waded hand-in hand through the pasture, sage and prairie rose christening our feet.

You asked me to dance, so I hopped from one lichen splattered boulder to the next. Soon, I was a stone skipping across the prairie, soaring up and up into the clouds. When sun kissed my cheeks, I glanced down at the speck you’d become on the horizon, and you extended your hand. Lacing your fingers through mine, drew me back to solid ground. 

Hand in hand, we headed for setting sun. Our ending began when we reached the car. You pulled on your socks and shoes.  I’d abandoned mine to the field. Our eyes met in the rear-view mirror, yours clouded with sorrow and mine reflecting the bright blue sky.

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