apple cannon

october smashed into me
with handfuls of jupiter orange
& family in their cockpits.
it rained the afternoon we drove
to shoot apple cannons 
at the fall festival. the corn field
asked our names over & over 
& only i refused to give mine up.
i had multiplying brothers
& a handful of father. i had a leash
to drag a portrait by. the gravel
under my shoes echoed slick with grey.
everyone gathered to shoot.
hurl perfectly beautiful apples 
at faraway targets. load the ripe ammo
into the cannon's mouth. i used to feed
myself like this. one hesitant hand
loading the machine.
my family gathered around, waiting.
mcintosh & red delicious & winesape apples
all going guts for the thrill of it.
the months they swelled 
holding a tree arm delivered them
to our destruction basket. never
hitting target. rogue apples
smacking against a wall of rocks.
skin scuffed clean of their faces.
i took my own fist & considered
squeezing it until it turned red
& almost apple but no. i held on to 
the kick of the cannon. laughter like
leaves dropping hurriedly from children.
we needed the cannon to know us
so we shot more. brothers grew stems 
& mother coiled in a far away pie tin.
i could blame them but it was me
who insisted on still dressing
as a ghost around them. they stopped asking
when are you going to take that off?
& started taking polaroids without me.
apple graveyards. candied apples.
apples weeping their smooth amber seeds 
into the grass, futilly, knowing 
none will take root. the orchard,
like my family, standing tall & still.
worshipping future cannons. 
licking their thumbs clean 
where their apples departed. 

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