After Apples

After Apples
   by Dan Behrens
October twenty-eight—
My father’s birthday,
After the Whitetail high hunt,
Town’s holiday harvest lighting,
A first frost on our Orchard grass.
After apples. Dinner. A few cards.
The annual end we all know
Apart from my one recurring dream
Of dad falling from a picking ladder—
Ribs breaking. Gasping.
Pointing me the pasture’s length
To Corrigan’s and a phone.
Only nine. Confused. Crazed.
Poised for flight
Like a mass of Mule Deer
Scattered among the trees, among
The sharp Fall frost, erect
And peering into all that gathers us
Into ourselves, like an inevitable diagnosis
After all our apples have fallen to the ground.