The Apple Orchard
by Theodora Goss
I have lived every day in this world
who I was, distinct
from any other person
or where I was going,
except maybe to the grocery store.
Not knowing whether I had a purpose
other than to breathe the air
and provide a home for millions of bacteria.
Whether life had a meaning
other than simply getting through it.
What I have learned
is that one can move with a kind of grace,
rather like a poem
about the moon and apple blossoms,
slipping through the moments
easily, without anguish.
That a mask can become your true face,
like an opera singer who is a courtesan
one night, a peasant girl the next.
I have learned that art
is a compensation for death,
and to be an artificer, creating meaning
by pretending it exists.
I have claimed my place
in this indifferent world by dancing
to an aria of my own composing
through an apple orchard
that exists only in my head.
But you can see it, can’t you? When I describe
the branches swaying in the wind,
the apple blossoms white
in the moonlight, like moths
that have settled for a moment,
luminous and as evanescent
as this poem.
(The painting is Apple Trees in Bloom by Claude Monet.)