Baldwin Apples

Poem by Sarah Ann Winn

In October, their vinegar 
drew bees or decay’s sweetening 
drew bees. We brought bushel baskets 
and sorted. Some for the compost, 
the gently bruised for pies. The best, 
those half-gone with pocked, perfect skin
still a little green, for canning 
and apple butter. The Baldwins 
lured me to the kitchen counter.
The turn-and-scraping colander 
mill when the cooked apples were poured in — 
the splashed juice hot and delicious. 
Space made by adding cooked apples 
carefully. She tipped the ancient 
Dutch oven, and my idea 
of plenty poured down. I didn’t 
dare move or some would go to waste. 
Save some for later, she said. Now 
we restock the canned-goods cupboard. 
No beauty goes to waste here. Fill 
the shelf. Put up for lean winter 
the sweet of slowly gathering 
afternoon, that long fragrant bake, 
the whole house cooked up, and browned with 
cinnamon. In winter, the sound 
of that seal breaking snaps me back 
to sorting apples in the sun. 
Their scent rolled from Atalanta’s 
fingers, the breath of Eve before she bit.

The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

We are pleased to announce the first place winner for The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blind and selects the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final. The first place winner receives a printed certificate, an honorarium, publication on Alternating Current’s award page, publication on The Coil, printed publication in the triennial awards anthology with the selection indicated, two complimentary copies of the journal, and our virtual medallion created by the lovely folks at Hardly Square, for personal and professional use on the author’s websites, social media profiles, and book covers.

SARAH ANN WINN’s first book, Alma Almanac, won the 2016 Barrow Street Book Prize, and was published by Barrow Street Press. She is the author of five chapbooks. The most recent, Exhibition Pamphlet to the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum, is forthcoming from Yellow Flag. Her poems, prose, and hybrid works have appeared in Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, Passages North, and Quarterly West, among others. Visit her at or follow her at @blueaisling.

Originally published on 1/12/16.