Nora Ellis_for_[johnny appleseed]


[johnny appleseed]

Look. I lived a life of pure good.
Even the animals loved me, & the savages, too.
I wed no wife, just the hills of colonies.
They gave me children of knotted wood, spines
of pines, the personal luxury of shade.

I know a man who gave up the ghost, once
he lost his potency. That man will never be me.
I am kind & good, the bringer of truth & sustenance,
a sometimes-pollinator, scatter-er of seed.
I said, the woods are dark that refuse generosity,
& that darkness moves through the body & unselves us.
I say, I know an America unshaved & passive,
I fought battles only with the soil, to accept
a foreign thing, to take it inside & grow it.
I have seen the glory of the apple and the ghost.

About the Author: July Westhale is a Fulbright-nominated poet, activist, and journalist. She has been awarded residencies from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Sewanee, Napa Valley, Tin House and Bread Loaf. Her poetry has most recently been published in Adrienne, burntdistrict, Eleven Eleven, WordRiot, 580 Split, Quarterly West, and PRISM International. She is the 2014 Tomales Bay Poetry Fellow.

Artwork: Nora Ellis