walleah press


What the apple lady sees

The apple lady says sure is hard to get a good
apple these days
one that crisps your tongue
bites you back

The apple lady says
sure is hard to get good
help these days
them kids just don't want to work any more
especially when the apples
is still attached to the tree

The apple lady says
sure is funny how them townies
drives all the way here from
the city on Saturday
buys one bag of apples
then drives all the way back home

The apple lady says
sure is hard to figure out
what all those gals from the fish plant wants
with all them apples
they walks here every day
four miles in their bare feet and sandals
picks bags and bags
then walks home
they'll be back again tomorrow for more

The fish plant ladies say
sure is hard to fill a belly these days
when you're making three bucks an hour
after the fish plant takes room and board
for a bed in a bunkhouse with
fish guts and blood puddles
congealed outside the back door

The fish plant ladies say
we've cleaned out the Sally Ann
for the second time this week
shoes and sweaters and snowsuits
towels and blankets and booties
just so our babies
can keep warm

The fish plant ladies say
there's more to hunger
than belly hunger
when you're half a world away
from the ones who love you
baby on a breast
no substitute for the man
you've left behind

skin hunger
body hunger
soul hunger
that space inside
that apples won't fill
no matter how many bags
you drag home

Laurie Brinklow is a Prince Edward Island poet, editor, and book publisher who is currently working on her PhD (researching the importance of place and story in the islands of Tasmania and Newfoundland) in the School of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania.