Stolen Apple

Winter rattles the glass
in a greedy hug.
I remember the ghosts in the stories of Bahmanyar:
ugly things, they steal beauty.
Capricorn scratches at the windows
and then returns to his own loneliness
minus the fairy of his desires.
I tape up the cracks around the windows.
Into this utter vacuum of silence
I puff my breath at the mirror.
O, tomorrow my friendship with the mirror will end.
But no, I was never friends
with these illusory mirrors.
The neighbour’s cat, naïve, perched on the roof edge,
harbours an impossible dream:
stealing meat from the stew pot at our house.
I stole only once in my life, at five years old:
an apple snatched through the neighbours window.
A satin-skinned, sugar-apple whose mother was moonlight
and whose father was the sun.
I was caught red-handed.
She came from next door, ‘just married’ all over her face,
and said, ‘Come here!’
My hands trembled.  My heart dropped like a windfall.
The apple smiled.
I was a big sinner.
My sin was heavier than Adam and Eve’s.
Unexpectedly, the new bride next door
planted a kiss on my face and said,
‘I’ll give you this satin hankie, stitched by hand.’
I was a lucky sinner.
I only stole that once.
It was as if a stranger said to me, 
‘My apple used to twinkle in my breast.
Why did you steal it?’
I was a lucky sinner.
It is December again
and in the mirror I look at my old patience.
Why did the mirror freeze over?
O sun, come and play doctor to the mirror!
Night comes again.  Behind the windows, the naked tree,
like the ghost in the stories of Bahmanyar,
waits for the fairy of the moonlight.