when I close my eyes and think apple — by Sarah Bricault red and green ones march across the wallpaper, an apple-shaped clock chimes the hour, the sugar and flour nestle in ceramic apples, everything is like the first day of school, even the platter of sandwiches boasts an apple-on-plaid pattern. I remember there once was a cat in this kitchen, but it’s like a memory of a dream, fraying at the seams, and I do not know what the cat looked like, or what her name was, but there is a cat-shaped hole in this orchard of a kitchen, a memory of a memory of a cat and I remember this kitchen always smelled like cigarettes, when she was here, before the oxygen, and sometimes they gave me clothes and I thought they smelled like grandma when really they smelled like smoke, but there isn’t a grandma-shaped hole in this kitchen because they are the same shape in my memory, she was always this kitchen, apples everywhere, and I know that’s not true, but it’s where I hugged her hello, and goodbye, where I had to be careful not to step on the oxygen line, where grandpa would tickle me to the floor, where that tiny kitchen table holds its breath so it can squeeze into the nook, where I would dread the inevitable raspy questions about my love life is there a special boy, yet? we went apple-picking this year and I felt like I was reinventing the apple, putting another facet to the memory, evolving the vision to something crisp and clear and new where we stand on tiptoes and twist gently before the tree gives way, and there’s the ghost of grandma in this orchard, apples everywhere, we bring home a bag, and I admit I am glad that when I bite into the crisp sweetness and close my eyes, I see more than simple fruit
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Sarah Bricault has a PhD in neurobiology and currently works as a postdoc in that field. Her fascination with the mind and how it processes information often finds itself in her poetry, as do themes related to mental health. Sarah’s work can be found in Brown Bag Online, High Shelf Press, The Poeming Pigeon, Beyond Words, Wingless Dreamer, and elsewhere.