A Million Stories by Gordon Hilgers

Too young, perhaps, to blush,

a small, green apple floats in darkness

amateurishly framed in cheap cedar and hung

on a restaurant wall. The slender stem

of its goblet body swells like temptation,

ambrosia, from the finger-like source of its life.

People in a wholehearted universe beyond her

are merely eating, though moonlight

impresses her shine it seems upon an apple's

freckled peel: Night's darker breath,

wholly friend to fruitful innocence, passes

almost like a cloud, or Luna Moth, or gown

broom-sweeping the acrylic skies,

artlessly done in this city of hicks breathing-in

the bourgeois scent of nothing new.

This is a cheap painting. We all can agree on it.

Crude brushstrokes occlude but oddly enhance

some freshly alien meaning. Haltingly substandard,

intended effects dangle, flat as a dollar bill,

and fly, inept as economics itself, through

an abyss that is ultimate, childishly understood.

As we hang at a window table, eating

exotic Thai, we have to decide if this is food

or cuisine. Oblivious to such momentous decisions,

gentry, displaying unconsciousness to nobility

in Saturday night costumes, inarticulately express

how they feel regarding this neighborhood,

long neglected but renewed by affluence and style

while chewing their meals. A South Asian face,

perhaps the artist herself, eagerly attends them all

as if the steamy bellowing from the kitchen

was also a school for the interchangeability taught

in this clacking, abutting exchange of separate ships,

each murmuring divergent complaints with civility.

Gordon Hilgers © 2014