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From the Mythic Delirium Books archives

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From Mythic Delirium, Issue 20, Winter/Spring 2009

 


Apple Jack Tangles the Maidy Lac
with a Red, Red Ribbon

 

Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica Paige Wick

 

Illustration by Paula Friedlander
 
 

Read by Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica Paige Wick

 

Read by Jessica Paige Wick and Amal El-Mohtar


 

Apple Jack: You’re stubborn as the cleft in a goat’s hoof or bad living in the doctor’s final report! Come live with me by the apple-tree and I’ll brew you apple-jack. I’ll stir eggshell-stew in an old tin pan used, once, to collect rain-water from a goldriver. I’ll even bake old-fashioned lavender-spice bread. We can pretend the ribbon isn’t wrapped around our wrists, that our fingers aren’t enlaced, if only you’ll say my name, you’ll look at me, even once. If only, even once, I could look away from you, straying by the glassy pool. Maidy Lac: Egg-shell stew? Is that a joke? A crackerjack box cruelty? I’ll never look at you, never, wicked, tricking, tripping thing with your cat’s breath panting ’round my fingers tugging me away. All I wanted was a ribbon, a red, red ribbon for my wine-dark hair, not an ugly gnarled apple-lad, limp-mouthed and dry. Blast your apples, blast your trees with sky-forks and sea-salt, blast them all! My eyes are shut until I’m free to sink beneath the wide lake’s rim and find my way back home. Apple Jack: Home’s right through here. This door thick with thorn? A ruse to keep away the rubes. I want you to eat. Eat an apple at least. Look at the tree, the copper brightness of the fruit. Maybe we’ll live forever. Apple-trees wear a crown of blossom, not lightning. Oh, please, shake off the water’s curse, don’t thin off like wax in the heat. Look at me, my soda-pop, we needn’t think of the ribbon at all, just the latest radio tune, ghost stories, Old Grandpappy in the Moon visiting. Maidy Lac: This ribbon’s a tangle, not a knot, and I’ll slip free of it, see if I don’t. I don’t want your apples, don’t want your blossoms, your copper and your thorns. I want the waves, the warm kiss of depth and dream, of dripping hair on my bare shoulders. It’s cold out here, apple-man, it’s cold, and the wind is a knife on my flesh, will peel me to my core. I won’t go, I won’t — but tell you what. I’ll stuff your mouth with weeds, I’ll pull you down instead. This ribbon tugs both ways, no? My strength is not so small as my wrist, and I’ve heard that apples float.

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“Apple Jack Tangles the Maidy Lac with a Red, Red Ribbon” first appeared in Mythic Delirium, Issue 20, Winter/Spring 2009. “Apple Jack Tangles the Maidy Lac with a Red, Red Ribbon” copyright © 2009 by Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica Paige Wick. Illustration by Paula Friedlander, copyright © 2009. Voice recordings by Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica Paige Wick, © 2009; all rights reserved. This poem and illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the authors’ and artist’s express written permission.