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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.

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