Poetry by Maureen Wilkinson

Once Upon a Time

This poem was published in Apples and Snakes - the Windfall Anthology 1994.


Once upon a time a woman stood
peeling her myth into a midnight blue saucepan.

Once upon a tea-time a woman took
an apple's totality in her hand. Her angled knife
unravelled the chartreuse skin,
which fell in a single piece, spiralling,
while the world skeined time around her kitchen;
day-green to dusk.

Her husband was sitting in the other room
watching the news on television.
Of course apple was a forbidden fruit,
but they had eaten it many times before,
and survived the experience. Everyone knew
that if you swallowed the pips, as they had done,
you yourself would become rooted.
Yet she had blossomed.
First she had brought forth man,
then children
and then sustenance.

She had but one grief; an insatiable hunger
for something she couldn't cook.

She cleared away the debris; the green coils again confirming
the initials of her beloved.
Her alchemical pastry was a personal triumph.

Later the meal was served
and the pie tasted heavenly.

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