I guess it goes back to the Renaissance,
bored painters spicing up the biblical
with a bit of the Greek—Eden’s mystery fruit
made in the image of Hera’s golden apples,
or the apple that fell before Troy
when beauty was judged by Paris the Fair
as he traded that title for fair Helen.
I’m no expert at enchanted eats
or a talking snake that doubles as the waiter
pushing the house special, but I wouldn’t call
the apple a particularly sinful fruit--
a middling philanderer at best,
yeoman-like in its decadence of baked goods
and fermented cider. Not like the kiwi,
which makes you slice and scoop for little more
than a green mouthful. The apple annoys,
but just slightly—a bruised spot or skin stuck
between the teeth. Mostly it’s like a lover
you’re not quite in love with—not great
but good enough for practical snacking.
And if we’re going with guessing games,
I’d make the mango my fruit of choice--
so long as it were in season. I imagine Eve
flush with misbehavior, juices drizzling
as she mouths the fruit’s flesh, resinous
and lily-fresh. There’s Adam, overcome
with hunger, devouring fruit and lady
upon the bridal bed of lilac and dew.
Was it then that he felt his breath half-blocked--
choking man, choking ever since
on the dust of the earth, the sweat of brow?
At the Airport, Home Early and Without a Pick-Up
Like a guest at a mixer after everyone else
has gotten the hors d’oeuvres and gone,
the bag makes its conveyor rounds past ads
shilling trips to Mexico and Maui,
past the girl at the rent-a-car counter.
She doesn’t answer her phone when she’s working--
that’s the safest thing to think.
Every fifteen minutes or so a new faction
funnels in from plane, food court, and duty-free--
chatting on cells or toying with Pads and Pods
until the luggage gumballs out. Then the scene
becomes the day-after-Thanksgiving--
the suitcases as this year’s must-own merch.
I try my cousin. The tone spins
like jalopy wheels, winding to voice mail.
The bag and I remain. Black and bulging,
tied with a frayed ribbon, likely what travelers
have feared long before the threat of terror--
bound for Boston, baggage in Cleveland.
Maybe someone is missing their dirty clothes
or souvenirs for the kids.
I get through to a friend I haven’t seen in months.
He’d come, but he’s been at the bar since noon.
A pilot struts through in yellow-banded navy-blues
like a charioteer of the skies--
a deus ex machina, a god of the machine.
I’d like to say that I too have been awed
at cutting through clouds like a ship in fog,
at seeing cities shrink to a child’s play set.
But I’ve grasped air and nothing else--
avoiding direct routes to save
what amounts to less than a cheap suit,
killing time in wait of claims.
The bag goes around. I call a cab.
Scott Volz graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Evansville. He lives in Evansville, Indiana, where he is likely to be procrastinating and watching old movies. His poetry has previously appeared in River & South Review and The Ohio River Review.