On The Transformation Of The Forgetable Ms. Applesauce

I mean, this stuff happens in the deep,
deep homesteading Midwest,
where 10 year old sons routinely
work butcher knives, prepping
pumpkin squash, ham hocks,
for eating or freezing.
I’ve seen pictures of them unshod
in barns smiling,
no safeties on anything.

Once there were Chestnut trees
foresting the American East Coast.
But that Japanese Parasite killed them.
The people of Appalachia
got an economic kick in the nuts,
and the foraging fauna felt it, too.

Johhny Appleseed,
horticulturalist minister
and sleeper in corn cribs,
would put Quakers and hip-hop fashionista
both in their place
with his saucepan cap-turned-backwards.
He traipsed around like that,
then cooked meals in his hat.
No one thought much about it,
or that he might be a nut case.

On the Savannah, Ohio lawn of Amy Sheaffer,
the last, extant, gnarled and knotted
original Appleseed tree still grows
just outside her kitchen door.
It still rains apples. When fall comes,
it just rains apples.

So the kids get tricked-
she makes her applesauce
with star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks,
and vanilla from Madagascar,
a rich, thick chutney.
They imbibe in grateful near-gluttony.

Once served
in the 1920’s boardinghouse-
cheap filler-

and still is, tepid,

from US Government surplus,
over-sized jars
in public school lunchrooms.