Tell by Paul Muldoon
He opens the scullery door, and a sudden rush
of wind, as raw as raw,
brushes past him as he himself will brush
past the stacks of straw
that stood in earlier for Crow
or Comanche tepees hung with scalps
but tonight past muster, row upon row,
for the foothills of the Alps.
He opens the door of the peeling-shed
just as one of the apple-peelers
(one of almost a score
of red-cheeked men who pare
the red-cheeked apples for a few spare
shillings) mutters something about "bloodshed"
and the "peelers."
The red-cheeked men put down their knives
at one and the same
moment. All but his father, who somehow connives
to close one eye as if taking aim
or holding back a tear,
and shoots him a glance
he might take, as it whizzes past his ear,
for a Crow, or a Comanche, lance
hurled through the Tilley-lit
gloom of the peeling-shed,
when he hears what must be an apple split
above his head.