"Our Lady of Crabapple Hill" by Adam Tavel

Adam Tavel

Adam Tavel

Adam Tavel received the 2010 Robert Frost Award and is the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon, forthcoming) and the chapbook Red Flag Up (Kattywompus). His recent poems appear or will soon appear in The Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, Passages North, Southern Indiana Review, Cream City Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. He is an associate professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Our Lady of Crabapple Hill
                        for my grandmother

the hoe samuraied above your head
            splits the vermillion dusk that gleams
                        its one dull tooth: you growl
for me to pace the parched ravine below

            where craning I will the witless
garter snake into a viper, incalculable,
            rearing its teardrop hood against the sky
                        & swaying like a wino: I shudder

each time the blade peals down
            to chip its skin apart, the slick guts
                        pulled taffy in grass & the idle
flopping of a tail that takes its death

            in twitches: brow sweat runnels
to cloud the threat of things that threaten
            not but for their gore: how the handle bears
                        its droop like a giant shoelace

to the woods & flings: I miss the smears
            of blood beside my leather mitt that marks
                        home base until I stoop to pick it up
at supper's bell when I lick

            tart explosions from my palms
blistered from batting apples & pant
            the rolling acre back unto
                        silver: the shadow-screen: your hair