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the fish together with seltzer water, nutmeg,

white wine and finely diced celery ribs

while thinking about something sacred.

Anything so beautiful as to give up its hunger

for holiness, and shed its skin for the sacred childheart

is still not enough, won’t show me how to love. And there's nothing

edible in this poem. Nothing holy.

Only an apple, which tastes like apple, smells

like an apple. What else can an

apple mean here, in any other holy place it's the same, sweet fruit –

but on this cobblestone street

in Dachau where my grandmother

is said to have been beaten to death

and no one said Kaddish until a few minutes ago, I would eat

six million perfect apples as the one here in my palm and never feel full.

I’d embrace hundreds of loving and hating

Germans, Koreans, Catholics, Laotians, real women

and men, anything to let go of the ancient shadowboxer

in me who snorts nation

with each jab and wide hook – the one

seed who's never known an enemy

besides his own, dark imagination.

I can't start my life over. The landmarks

I know are all in poems, not in people's hearts.

There are no clear landmarks in this poem.

When I cross back over the Atlantic to Troy,

New York – home -- her milling ball quarry machines

and cookie factories burned like figures

my own youth had no time for – inside the American

womb of plenty up above our sacred, holy world

I'll eat this apple, I'll split it with

my mother and sisters over halvah, macaroons.

Jesse Waters

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