I find the last crabapple—rotted, not fallen
from the branch but buried up in the leaves.
What has stopped the cankered globe from falling?
Once, some time ago, my grandmother
walked up the loose staircase by herself
despite every warning, a hand planted
on railing and banister. From the kitchen,
I saw her cropped hair grow, whiter with each
groan of wood. And then, I ran to catch her.
The difference between being alive and gone is
a single layer. Digging for a coat in the attic,
I opened a shallow box: dry moss and sawdust,
two crocus bulbs from her old garden.
Beside the tree, I kneel among turned apples,
spade driven in grass and clay, the way I watched
her knees settle in mulch. In the hole goes bone
meal. Shreds of bark my fingers halve.
Water in a rusting bucket. I pour another pail;
the earth takes the time to swallow.
Geoff Anderson curated Columbus, OH's first poetry shows for biracial writers (The Other Box), translation (Lingua Franca), and immigration (New World). He’s a Callaloo fellow and his chapbook, Humming Dirges, won Paper Nautilus’s Debut Series (2017). He has work on/forthcoming in Tinderbox, Juked, Southern Indiana Review, and www.andersongeoff.com.