The Promises Of Autumn

I bit into the apple
knowing it would be a disappointment.
It was too light in my hand
to have ripened well,
too sickly pale
to have matured on the tree
where it belonged.

But I bit anyway,
hoping against reason for a
crisp, tart crunch to fill my mouth
and feed me the promises of autumn—
family dinners, a child in my lap.
But the flesh is pasty and tasteless,
gives way without resistance,
decomposes on my tongue.

I spit it out
but can’t help turning the apple in my hand,
hefting it again,
wondering if, perhaps, the other side had faced out,
shouldered a bit more wind,
weathered colder nights,
soaked in more sun,
had more to offer.

—Laura Schulkind


BIO: Poet and writer Laura Schulkind is an attorney by day, where she is entrusted with others’ stories. Through fiction and poetry, she tells her own. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The McGuffin, Talking River, Eclipse, Minetta Review, Forge, Bluestem, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Caveat Lector, and Tiger’s Eye. Her published work can be seen on her website She and her husband divide their time between Berkeley and Big Sur, California. Her two grown sons continue to inspire her.