August’s Apples

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Extract from Wounding

An apple tree grows at the end of the lawn; its branches thick and fertile, as she approaches it throws black shadows across her face, bars of cool shade in the bright sunlight. Apples hang from the branches, a hundred red-green orbs studding the bark, visible through the thick leaves. It seems magical, producing, fruiting without their aid or husbandry, cajoled by bees and wandering insects, silently maternal in the garden. Under the tree the grass is pocked with rotten fallen fruit, the apple’s flesh softened and melting into the soil like soap, the harvest squandered. Fodder for wasps, which then sting her children. The sticky sweet waste appalls her. She has always bought their apples, neat and green, wrapped in cellophane, unsullied by nature, almost as if manufactured not grown. When here, if she made the effort, if she could trust them, were more apples than they could eat. She feels sick, her stomach rising towards her mouth, sick at the waste, and sick at the sight of the brown mush, the bright optimism of the apples corrupted by dirt and rot.

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