Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lee Upton

The Coast of Apples

I would fly to the coast of apples.
            —Euripides, translated by Frederick Morgan

When I flew to the coast of ghosts,
there, on the white branch, sat Euripides.
At once, I tried to peel the skin

off my own anxiety. Euripides,
I said, you with the glorious name,
what do you want with apples

now? Flying, I can understand.
Although there are problems enough.
I’ve flown every month

for a year. Too often my flight was detoured
to the coast of bullets, the coast of salt,
the coast of abandoned tires—

which is not much better than flying
to the coast of thistles
but preferable to the coast of briars

next to the coast of radioactive waste.
At last when I stopped talking
Euripides peered down and said to me:

I bet the wings were the hardest part.
That, and the rest of the horse.

previously published in Boston Review

Lee Upton is the author of the The Tao of Humiliation: Stories; the essay collection Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition Boredom Purity & Secrecy; the novella The Guide to the Flying Island; and a fifth collection of poetry, Undid in the Land of Undone, among other books.  

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