Drunk History: Cider
by Kate Polak
Three quarters placed along the counter by
the back door, there not for any sanctioned use
but their neat fit in the notch atop the flask
that lends us levity: more plain, it’s air
that makes the cider light. Spin down pressure,
release the valve, the scent compressed orchard
from three hundred years’ drunk on fruit, scions
of our nations’ mythic trees.
When did the fall
become teeth sunk into an apple? Soon
as fermentation was a thing: wild hogs
that ran amok through villages, blotto kids
who, wasted, were risking less danger than
the stream posed, Johnny wandering with bags
of seed to spread his gospel to the land.
The cooler climes, bittersweet fecundity
and fallow spells, produced the Northern Spy,
Liberty, Wine Sap, Wickson, Dabinett.
Heirloom: a woven legacy, a tool.
It’s ritual: each fall, we poise our jugs
below the spout that directs the juice
from press to tumult, from distillation
to mouth, from throat to brain, where once again
we reckon with our heritage, and our remains.
About the Author
Kate Polak is an artist, writer, and teacher. Her work has recently appeared in Plainsongs, McSweeney’s, So to Speak, and elsewhere.