This year we only pick the fallers.
Bramleys the size of two fat fists, sharp with green.
They wait on the lawn like an unfinished game.
There are fewer of us now
so we don’t wrap them for sharing –
we still have last year’s, a frozen harvest.
We bundle them up in her outhouse
with the dead dog’s bowl, the birdseed
and the empty whisky bottles.
She can peel them in one go
neat spirals dropping between her thin fingers
while I cut chunks that crunch like snow.
We make an apple crumble, caramel soft,
with cinnamon and too much butter
served hot with custard, the way she likes it.
I leave early, drive back down the M5,
hands knuckling the steering wheel,
half the crumble on the back seat, growing cold.
First published by Teignmouth Poetry
(third prize Local Competition 2021).