Carol Baldwin

I learned to use a cash register at age four.
We had a family business.
Red apples, green apples.
I could fall back on.
I remember climbing the gnarled trees,
picking the white blossoms,
galloping through the orchards
trying to get home to dinner on time:
a good girl.
 
In school we learned that numbers
could never be divided by zero;
this was because the teacher said so.
A solid source of fiber, also vitamin A.
Then you don’t ask questions.
 
I was a silent teenager.
I didn’t ask about parabolas.
Infinity I understood:  an unending supply of apples.
We cored, pared and cut.
 
I saw a psychiatrist.
For checking too many times that the oven was off.
For counting to fifty over and over in even numbers.
For fearing I’d murder my family.
Not even the Mafia had that much sin.
Dr. Zeller prescribed pills that made me sleepy
so I earned C’s and D’s.
 
I picked apples year-round in my naps
filling all the buckets in the root cellar
making strudel for supper.