Midnight, the windows of the houses unlit, a whisper of wind, the rustle of leaves. I enter a back alley, glance around, scramble over a wooden fence, intent on stealing apples.
The yard I enter was my first home after graduating from college. My father always had apple trees in his yard, so when he and my mother visited me here, he bought the tree whose bounty I plan to plunder. Side by side, on our knees, we tamped earth over roots.
I pick one, bite in. Its crisp tartness takes me back to the times I would climb the tree in his backyard; back to the smell of his rust-striped Gravensteins; his baked apples and apple pies.
He died ten years ago. A year later I sold this house and bought another. I have a tree in my new backyard, but not the tree that he and I planted. It's only these stolen apples that have the taste of childhood.
Forthcoming in Simply Haiku