Midnight, the windows of the houses unlit, a whisper of wind, rustle of leaves. I go down a back alley, glance around, scramble over a wooden fence, intent on stealing apples.
The yard I enter was my first home after graduating from college. My father always had apple trees in his yard, so when he visited me, he bought the tree whose bounty I plan to plunder. Side by side, on our knees, we tamped earth over roots.
I pick one, bite in. Its crisp tartness takes me back to climbing the tree in his backyard; back to the smell of his rust-striped Gravensteins, his baked apples and apple pies.
He died ten years ago. A year later, I sold this house and bought another. I have a tree in my new backyard, but not the tree that he and I planted. It's only these stolen apples that have the taste of childhood.
Note: This is a revision of a haibun published in Simply Haiku 5:1 Spring 2007.