I had a dream months after you had gone. You stood by the sink peeling an apple. In a panic, I told you that you were dead and asked why you were in the kitchen, now only Mom’s. You turned toward me and laughed, said, I’ll go soon, in just a quick minute. When I’m done, I’ll go. I said, ok then. You always peeled apples with your pocket knife, circling the white flesh in one long strand of red peel spiraling toward the table reminding me, if the skin stayed intact to the end then there would be good weather coming. Sure, I thought, probably rolling my eyes at 12 or 13 when we’d sit at the table, eat dinners with fruit as dessert, sit and talk about our day as you insisted. I had nothing much to share then and even less in my 20s when boys, school, and cars flooded my life with meaning I mistook for significance which was only fading flutters, feelings I thought were more real than you, your stories about the war, about your farming days, about all the roads and bridges you worked on, the places you’d been. Dreaming of you was something in me telling me that I was forgiven for not making it to you before your last day on earth, knowing things happen as they happen and nothing can prevent them from filling our lives with remorse, guilt, sadness, and grief, but then we move on, peel the apple, leave the kitchen, leave everything in its place.
Anne Graue’s work appears online and in print in journals and anthologies. The author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press, 2020) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), she is also a poetry editor for The Westchester Review. Find her on Twitter @agraue & on Instagram @amgrauepoet.