There is this simile
That has been told many times to me
“Girls are like apples on a tree”
They said, nodding their heads oh-so-wisely,
“The ones at the bottom get picked quick
And once bitten, are dropped to rot.
The girls at the top, however,
Are left to grow, to ripen,
Until one day, a boy brave enough
Climbs the tall tree and picks them.”
They’d pat my hands, and I
Sweet-sixteen and never been kissed,
Girl who’s little sister dated before her,
Was comforted, safe in the knowledge that
One day my prince would come,
That I would wait, patiently
For a man, no agency of my own.
It wasn’t until later,
When I was reminded once again of this
That I was taken aback, and I sat and
It soon became clear to me
That this stereotypical statement was one of suppression
That it tore at the girls, at the foundation they had
That it made girls objects
To be acted upon by men.
That it looked at girls who had,
Made their own decisions
As something less than,
They saw those girls as
It makes no mention of boys who may act this way.
The boys who take the low hanging fruit
Are not punished.
They remain the subject of their own story.
Free to take, devour, drop, and take again,
No punishment, no harsh words.
No retribution for the girls who were diminished, destroyed,
By gaping mouths and ripping teeth,
Who had the seeds of themselves
Spit out on the wayside
There was still this double standard that
And women are acted upon
We believe women are to be pursued
Are objects of desire, no story of their own
Their lips pouting invitingly, holding back their tongues,
The stories they will never share.
I think of the grass under that tree,
Littered with rotten apples
For no fault of their own.
Of the apples blushing under green leaves and golden sun
Hesitant and scared,
Waiting and wanting.
I think of this
As they pat my hands once more
Condescending smiles-or worst, earnest-
On their faces, as they tell me of boys and apples once more
I rip my hands out from under them
And climb down my apple tree.