Stacey Balkun is the author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak (dancing girl 2016) & Lost City Museum (ELJ 2016). A Finalist for the 2016 Event Horizon Science Poetry Competition as well as the Center for Women Writer's 2016 Rita Dove Award, her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Muzzle, Bayou, and others. A 2015 Hambidge Fellow, Stacey served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013. She holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches poetry online at The Poetry Barn.

B Y   S T A C E Y   B A L K U N

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

H I S T O R Y   O F   T H E   A P P L E

​​​​​​​​​​Settlers brought malus domestica
from Europe, planted seeds and cuttings

into bitter orchards, harvesting
the thick red pearls

off gnarled limbs, first 
for cider and later 

for a taste of something 
sweet. Born to withstand 

spoilage, yet we still fear
spreading rot. Tell an apple a day

to Eve. Each seed cyanidic,
poisonous as the settlers’ notions

of how one should tend
house, cover her ripe skin,

keep close to her family tree 
until a man is ready

to pick her. With this 
cultivation, it’s no surprise 

the seeds can burn.