Recently, I’ve been re-reading (for about the hundredth time) a collection of poetry by the late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Amichai was assigned reading during my first creative writing class ever (in college), and I can remember so clearly reading one particular poem of his, “Inside the Apple,” for the first time. It was printed all crooked on that extra-thin 8X10 you always got at the school copy place. To me, it’s a perfect poem. You know how sometimes things are just precisely in the key of you? Sometimes I wish I could read it with someone else’s brain; I love it so much, I wish I could meet it again. But anyway, here it is:
Inside the Apple
You visit me inside the apple.
Together we can hear the knife
paring around and around us, carefully,
so the peel won’t tear.
You speak to me. I trust your voice
because it has lumps of hard pain in it
the way real honey
has lumps of wax from the honeycomb.
I touch your lips with my fingers:
that too is a prophetic gesture.
And your lips are red, the way a burnt field
It’s all true.
You visit me inside the apple
and you’ll stay with me inside the apple
until the knife finishes its work.