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Apple Orchard This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Gnarly branches,
shrunken roots,
skeletal trunk,
barely producing apples.

Cut down.
Torn down.
Burned and destroyed.
Dead, dead, dead.
Dying,
but still growing inside.

In desperate need,
of a watering.
In desperate need of love,
of any kind of some TLC.

Gnarled tree,
one or two apples a year,
Not rotten,
Not golden.
Just red and bumpy.
They’re real,
so real.

Luscious branches,
long roots,
full of water.
Full of life.

Green leaves,
golden apples.
Alive, alive, alive,
Living.
Too beautiful to be cut,
to be torn,
to be wasted.

Golden apples catch your eye.
“Pick me,” they shout.
“Pick me, eat me.”
You will pick them.


Beautiful tree with golden apples.
Shiny, smooth and fake.
So fake.
Take a bite,
you know you want to.
Dig your teeth in.
It’s rotten inside,
isn’t it?
The outside is beautiful,
but if only you knew what horrors it held,
You would run to the gnarled trees.

Now you say the gnarled trees,
aren’t beautiful.
I say they’re more beautiful than a tree with rotten apples.
At least they’re real.
They have beautiful personalities.
They might be overlooked by others,
unseen.
They’ll shine.
The other trees will peak now,
their branches brushing the clouds.
but the skeletal trees will overcome their death.
They’ll be alive.
They’ll be growing.

I would much rather be wonderful when I’m ready.
I don’t want to be golden.
I just want to be me.
I am not your stereotypical,
golden apple.




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