The 66th Apple Blossom Parade, 2012

by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

The whole town seems over-exposed in bright
new sunlight on the day of the Apple
Blossom parade. We stand four-thick watching
our children in uniformed marching bands
pass by, the shined up fire trucks throwing
handfuls of bright candy, and the old men,
who continually ride their old tractors
or apple sprayers down the parade route.
Showers of cold water arc out of old machines
that once carried lead and arsenic to
keep an orchard clean of unwanted pests
and the hot parade watchers beg for it.
All along the parade route the woman appears.
She spreads her golden wings and dances
next to the marching band.  Then,
appears again in front of the fire truck.
We laugh at her.  Shoo her off. Think her
a fool.  But she returns, dancing and smiling.
When the parade stops, we gather children
and the streets are swept.  We go home to fallow
fields still freckled with unpruned trees, still warm
from sunburns, still thinking of what's passed us
by as the fog rolls in and sedates us.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle's debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, won the Trio House Press award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her chapbook, Inheritance, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010, and her second chapbook, The Flying Trolley, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in June 2013. Dunkle currently teaches writing at Sonoma State University and at Napa Valley College. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous publications including: Poet’s Market 2013, Crab Orchard Review, Fence, LinQ, VOLT, The Mom Egg, Sentence, Weave, Verse Wisconsin, Boxcar Poetry Review, The Squaw Valley Writers Review, Sugar House Review, Inter|rupture, and Talking Writing. Dunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University.

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