Through the night
outside my window
one by one let go
their branches and
drop to the lawn.
I can’t see, but hear
the stem-snap, the plummet
through leaves, then
the final thump against the ground.
at once, or one
right after another.
During long moments of silence
and wonder about the bruised bodies,
the terror of diving through air, and
think I’ll go tomorrow
to find the newly fallen, but they
all look alike lying there
dewsoaked, disappearing before me.
I lie beneath my window listening
to the sound of apples dropping in
the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,
which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know
the meaning of what I hear, each dull
thud of unseen apple-
body, the earth
falling to earth
once and forever, over
Li-Young Lee, “Falling: The Code” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.
(BOA Editions Ltd., 1986)