October 2014

The Final Taste

          by Barry Sternlieb


With bow season almost here,

two whitetail does become moonlight

searching for apples. Down near

the burly old trees they browse like


sisters, or mother and daughter. Quietly

I step out on the porch to get

a better look. Frost arches an ivory

back along midnight. My breath,


given body, tells me I’m destined

for the greatness of fallen apples

going bad on the lawn, this second

discovered by sudden muzzles,


crushed and swallowed, the final taste

of earth putting everything in its place.


Barry Sternlieb’s work has appeared in Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review.  The recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, his collection Winter Crows won the 2008 Codhill Press poetry award. He is the editor of Mad River Press specializing in letterpress broadsides and chapbooks.