My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up The Task

By Jon Pineda

A basket of apples brown in our kitchen,
their warm scent is the scent of ripening,
 
and my sister, entering the room quietly,
takes a seat at the table, takes up the task
 
of peeling slowly away the blemished skins,
even half-rotten ones are salvaged carefully.
 
She makes sure to carve out the mealy flesh.
For this, I am grateful. I explain, this elegy
 
would love to save everything. She smiles at me,
and before long, the empty bowl she uses fills,
 
domed with thin slices she brushes into
the mouth of a steaming pot on the stove.
 
What can I do? I ask finally. Nothing,
she says, let me finish this one thing alone.
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