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The first prayer I ever learned was a song
about apples and a man in a tin hat

who spread his seed across the west. Well,
the lord’s been good to me—and so I thank the lord

for giving me the things I need: the sun and the rain
and the apple seed. The amen was drawn out in a way

that only children could hit right. In a way that sang
ah, men! I nearly loved a boy from the Midwest

with a curly beard, strong hands, and the makings
of a beer belly. He was going to be a farmer

after he was a football star. We sat crisscross applesauce
on his dorm floor when I told him. I sat legs straight

on his bare mattress when we examined
my bruised flesh. I am afraid I have nowhere

to put an apple seed. I am just about
ninety percent apple at this point—all out

of baskets and stuck on a riverbank smack-dab
in the middle of orchard country. I’m falling

for a songbird who has barely touched
a woman before. She’s picking up

my rotting fruit. There’s a ladder here,
and we’re sewing my stems back into branches.



Hannah Smith received an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University, where she served as the managing editor of The Journal. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. Her collaborative chapbook, Metal House of Cards, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. More at




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