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Golden, Cortland, Empire,

McIntosh, Delicious,

even crab – in short,

she’ll grab them all, my small

girl-child, in or out of season –

clutch summer’s hard greens

or cradle fall’s red survivors,

wormholes and all, she’ll call them

her windfall, her doctor-a-day.

I’ll call them her healthy

curiosities, her tongue’s delight.

No wonder she wonders at their maker:

who cast the first seeds out

with a generous hand,

who colored the blossoms

white then tinted their insides pink?

No wonder she’s grown curious

and quick, sexual and rebel,

until she preempts all commands

from her father and orders him about:

that one, that one, no, that one!

In short, she’s defenseless

against wonder, against inquisition’s 

pitfalls, that is, the Fall

into the Pit. Defenseless against apples

laced with law, or poison, or worm’s

rotten intention. In short, her four

earth years have not prepared her

for clay’s desire, air’s shimmer,

water’s oscillation, fire’s agitation.

In short, she’s sinking

her teeth into the green world.


(Mid-List Press, 2006)


“In mature meditations, in sharply detailed memories, in muscular free verse and lightly worn habits of descriptive verve, Shepard manages to make the world his subject – from the racial conundrums of the South, to the habits of birds, to celebrations of an aging father and the birth and growth of a daughter. There are moods and tones – philosophic, emotional, humorous, skeptical, assertive, self-deprecatory – that broaden his poetic range, sharing his sense of the life journey as a voyage of discovery, as an adventure in which the imagination is our best means of responding to whatever life offers, especially when distance from ‘the source’ is a palpable fact.” -- Eamon Grennan

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