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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Ray Rasmussen

Stolen Memories

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.

pockets full
of memories

Note: This is a revision of a haibun published in Simply Haiku 5:1 Spring 2007.