a modified English Alexandrine An ancient apple tree in my unkempt backyard Has skin pocked like the moon by savage nature’s wrath. The top is bare and broke, curled like a parched mesquite Contorted in hot sand. Some lower limbs are green. These few remember still How coiling teenaged roots went questing, drinking deep. Swayed easy in the storms, and limber, shed the snows. Tomorrow had no cares. Untouched, enduring still. The few lush limbs oppose Death creeping from above. They birth a crop of fruit: Green scandal, tart with life. Defiance ‘til the end. A lesson, might it be? Mickey Kulp is a writer and father whose creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous consumer magazines, newspapers, literary journals, and three books of poetry. He is a member of the Gwinnett County Writers Guild and founding member of the Snellville Writers Group. In 2018, he created a quarterly reading series to benefit the local food co-op. He lives with his wife and a dozen larcenous squirrels in Atlanta, GA.