Emily Safron

Apple Slices

Meticulously, my father would arrange
the mangoes in their appropriate tupperware box,
his cracked fingertips shaking
as he then peeled another apple over the trashcan
in a single long strand of skin.

I would traipse in, lips upturned
and uncaring, sometimes from outside,
tracking water in dirty rivers across the floor,
and greet him.  He would look at me,
and the disdain in his eyes
would make my belly ache, my joy
decaying to indignation.
I didn't understand.

He would cut the apple into perfectly even
slices, with fingers that could now
type only in obsolete computer languages,
fingers that would never again hold a cigarette,
caress the skin of a beautiful lover,
or press down on the strings of a guitar fret.

Angry, I would set my wet jacket
on the counter next to his cutting board.