“The world breaks everyone, and afterward
many are strong at the broken places.”
Ernest Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms”
A century of apples broke its back—
in the dappled shade, that farthest tree—
the trunk lies horizontal in the grass,
too weak, for now, to battle with the breeze.
It bears a scar—a scion tree was grafted
to the rootstock, where the bark is rough.
The apple wears it like a soldier’s medal,
with quiet fortitude. The tree is tough.
Perhaps in time the tree will lift its head
and glimpse the hope remaining for survival—
an old soldier struggling from his bed
before the bell tolls death’s arrival.
Maybe it will sprout some new roots,
their reedy arms grasping at the ground,
and twist a new trunk toward the sun.
Come autumn, maybe apples will be found.
But I’ll be too old to see their faces, if
the tree grows strong at the broken places.