Page Hill Starzinger

Black Apples & Landing
September 25, 2019 Starzinger Page Hill

Black Apples

Dropping to the red earth, these, the night bearing
difficulties of the
21st century orchard. Thrashers calling family
from spindly
fruit tree-tops, reminding me of the usefulness of dead
branches. Orange haze over town.
Lights mingling with planets,
planes, and stars. Micrometeorites
raining down more or less continuously
without melting.
My father thinks I’m his wife
and my mother
has no idea who I am: at least she asks.
Oh, she responds when I say, you have a daughter and a son.
Not sure she knows what those are anymore.
is prescribed for his agitation—
look it up: also for alcohol withdrawal. Jeez,
if only we’d known
long ago, though he never would have taken it.
But what
if we hadn’t—done what he wanted—always. Nothing
more than bits on fire,
but they were us. This year
a new cloud was recognized:
apocalyptic waves, as if a roughened sea seen from underneath:
Asperitas for short.
Because no one hangs around for long.



And about his touch:
slightly salty, sun-brown;
pressing down into bed sheets, faint aroma of pool,
nestling of green palm fronds on window.

And then trying another way.

Tan ear lobe, blue speckled eyes, round sides and feet, the soles.

Relaxing, finally.

Sound from somewhere inside me I’m not familiar with. As if I evaporated
to reappear. Shorn, stepping outside myself. No,

in the mirror, afterward, recognizing my mother’s white hair,
remembering her saying how much she liked mine, when it was long,
and then

grief like a sudden thing;
or so it seemed.


Stepping barefoot
into a tidal bay, slipping into briny waves;
thinking of what lies deeper
than I will go:
Basket stars extending arms like nets
to catch small crustaceans.
Lava crystalizing into glass
as it tumbles through Mesopelagic waters.
Consider, from the time of Pliny
until the nineteenth century, no one thought there was life
at great depths. You say I am melancholy, but how beautiful

to think of what lies further out:

if regret is part of this,
so be it.

Page Hill Starzinger’s second poetry collection, Vortex Street, is forthcoming from Barrow Street Press. Her first book, Vestigial, selected by Lynn Emanuel to win the Barrow Street Book Prize, was published in Fall 2013. Her chapbook, Unshelter, chosen by Mary Jo Bang as winner of the Noemi contest was published in 2009. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon ReviewFence, West Branch, Pleiades, Volt, and others.