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The Sacred in the Quotidian

Fall, 2005

Barbara Crooker

Nature Morte Au Plat Et Pommes

still life by Cézanne (literally, “Dead Nature”)

These apples fill the silver bowl
with their roundness, plump globes
of red, yellow, green; you can feel them
fit in the palm of your hand, even though
they’re huile sur toile, oil on canvas,
imagination, pigment, and air. But
think about apples themselves, all that juice
and sweet flesh, springing from black seeds,
rain and dirt, the first transubstantiation, stemming
from Eden. Who was the first gardener, the one
before Adam, who planted winesap pips
and waited, then pruned suckers and water shoots,
thinned the blossoms, defruited and deadheaded,
hoping for a good harvest? No wonder Eve was bedazzled;
they shone like jewels on a velvet tray. The rosy skin,
the satisfying crunch, each succulent bite. And then she cut
slices, fed them to her lover, wedge by dripping wedge,
licked the sugar from his fingers. It wasn’t the knowledge
of good and evil after all that opened their eyes, but the hunger
of the body that argues against still life, that says, “I am alive
on this green earth, and I want more.”