“In the Shade of the Apple Tree”
By Eylie Sasajima
Unlike Venus, Truth will not rise up
out of the ocean, naked and golden,
full-grown and glowing with love.
If Truth is in the ocean, then it will blend
with microplastics and fishing net
and tear through a whale’s stomach
before it washes up on a tourist beach.
You will look at it rotting,
and you will know how it died.
And you will watch the wildfires
cutting through the old growth,
the gray water igniting in the sink,
and you will see Truth in the smoke.
You will see the campaign banners on Route 213,
the InfoWars stickers on stop signs,
the confederate flag on SUVs,
and you will catch a glimpse of Truth
in a runoff ditch as you drive by.
And maybe Truth will be there, half a mile
down your Facebook feed,
and it will be there in the empty slots
on bookshelves, in the cracked marble
of the steps to the Capitol,
in the plastic islands drifting
somewhere in the Pacific, in elm trees,
and the grit of classroom chalkboards.
You will write ballads, dedicate portraits,
sing hymns, and say prayers to it.
And if you taste Truth in the apple
you picked from the forbidden tree,
if it makes your mouth water
and your teeth burn,
keep chewing and pass it along.
Bury the seeds on this campus.
Whether the trees they grow into
satisfy you or scare you,
walk in their shade anyway.