MN poetry: Todd Boss’ ‘Apple Slices’

Todd Boss grew up on eighty-acre cattle farm in central Wisconsin. He received his MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. His first collection, Yellowrocket, was a Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Awards Honor Book. He’ll celebrate the launch of his second book, Pitch, this Wednesday at the Loft Literary Center at 7pm. Here’s one of his poems from the new collection.

Apple Slices

— eaten right

off the jackknife in

moons, half-moons,

quarter-moons and

crescents —


summon common

summer afternoons

I spent as my dad’s

jobsite grunt, framing

future neighbors’

houses out of 2x4s

and 4x6s,

and our

brief and silent pick-

up tailgate lunch-

box lunch breaks

of link sausage,

longhorn cheddar,

larder pickles, cold

leftover roast-beef-

and-butter sandwiches

wrapped in paper,

a couple of pippins

from the Fall Crick

Pick ‘n Save, and —

flavored of tin from

the lip of the cup

of a dented thermos

passed between us–

a hard-earned share

of still-chill well



so many waned and

waxed moons later,

another well-paid,

well-fed college-

bred paper-pusher, I

wonder that I’ve never

labored harder, nor

eaten better.

– “Apple Slices,” by Todd Boss, as it appears in his collection Pitch, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Reprinted here with permission of the author.

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