Poem For the Jamaican Apple Pickers


        for the pickers


The apples are used to those men,

their hands, their songs.

Used to rolling down


their arms into baskets.

Into crates. Carted off

to the cold, storage house.


This month most of them will

drop on their own accord.

Twist off their stems


because of the wind.

The yellow jackets won’t

know what to do with


so many of them.

Some days one is enough

to drill into. To lose


a stinger. Sunday nights

the apples will miss listening

to the men singing


their hymns.

We’ll miss going to church

for their hymn sing.

Later, standing around a fire

of fruit wood with them.

Watching the sparks


kindle the air.

Making their way back up

to Jamaica.


Where those men live,

before they come north.

For the sake of the trees


and their livelihood.

For how the apples love

to be softly taken.


      — Gary Margolis, Cornwall

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