--for Tadeusz Borowski (1922-51), author of Ladies and Gentlemen, This Way for the Gas
Such innocence in apples, peeled—
pale, pock-marked, but ominous.
Pale, peeled apples not the orange excess of autumn;
Instead--shorn heads, bald and pocked,
the shorn heads of those in camps--
shorn of breath, later. (I am
remembering the Polish writer
and camp survivor, the suicide author.)
All I am doing is making pies,
pies with apples I have picked.
I am not remembering history.
Or I am trying not to.
But those bald-headed apples
bring home the pie-bald lie we try to swallow
each time we try to forget:
that apple skins are not as red as blood;
more blood's been shed
than apples peeled.
So I turn, numbed, from truth and sorrow
Toward the banal, lustrous folly--pie.