by Alison Prine
I intend to outlive the sad girl from Pennsylvania.
I intend to get as close to indivisible
as a girl from Pennsylvania can.
Yes, and turn the burial ground we never visited
into its very own September.
In this there will be a transformation—
a love affair of sunlight and grass
gently, deliberately, turning
sadness into apples.
From Steel, © Cider Press Review, 2016.
Reprinted with permission.
The simplicity of a poem like this only underscores its truth—that grief can, over time, be made more useful and nourishing to the one who feels it. But it can take many years before we are able to harvest any insight from the loss of someone close, and some never do move beyond sadness. In this case, the speaker claims her independence from “the sad girl from Pennsylvania” that she once was. And yet, her second intention, “to get as close to indivisible/as a girl from Pennsylvania can,” suggests that, on some level, this “sad girl” will always be with the speaker, even if she has ultimately outgrown her. With “Into Apples,” Prine shows us that grief can be redeemed, if we fully feel it and allow the “burial ground we never visited” (or would rather forget) to become “its very own September,” bearing an unexpected abundance that can feed us for years to come, if we let it.