This poem is based off the Norse myth “The Golden Apples.” In Norse mythology, the goddess Idun cared for a tree laden with magic golden apples (or pears) that were the source of the gods’ youth. Loki, commonly known in these stories as a trickster, falls victim to a giant eagle who promises to release him only if Loki can steal for him Idun and her magic apples. Loki agrees in order to save his life, but suffers the wrath of the gods when Idun is discovered missing. Changing into a hawk himself, Loki manages to rescue Idun. The gods rejoice at the return of their youth, but Loki is not forgiven.
He cringes away from rejoicing gods
surrounding Idun’s outstretched apron.
Her silky pixie grin greets all those
who snatch the apples from the folds
of her flowing garment.
They smirk praise for her gifts,
golden orbs shining with life
slicked with the juices of youth
retrieved at last from conniving claws
thanks to the ingenuity of Asgard’s Best.
Shoulders crumped, Loki sneaks away
the truer hero of the day
but no matter.
He slips to the ground with his back to a tree
and bends his right arm, flexing
cautious fingers, long black nails.
He pulls up his dusky sleeve
to examine the pinked skin beneath
where feathers from another form
had by the eagle’s claws been torn.
Snatching the credit from under his nose,
the gods will conveniently forget
that while Sif bawled over a grey hair
and Odin clasped his wrinkled face
Loki had taken it upon himself
to don his falcon wings and fly
to the giant’s cave, salvage the apples
and bolt. With that thieving eagle
in hot pursuit
Loki rescued the sacred fruit.
He bangs his head against the tree
hard enough the branches clatter above,
shaking gossamer leaves and the
ordinary apples, the ones with no power
no life to give,
no juicy secrets
no plump eternities to deliver.
Nothing sparkles as they quiver.
An ordinary apple smacks into his lap.
He cracks a heartless smile,
a reflection of the day,
and raises the perfectly normal fruit.
The tender skin breaks when met by
his giant teeth, and the thin juice
dribbles down his chin.
No eternities within this pitiful specimen
but no matter—
It’s good enough for him.
Tonie Bear is a college senior studying, among other things, English, with emphases in Creative Writing and Literature. Tonie has had work previously published in Sheepshead Review, where Bear’s novel first chapter won the Rising Phoenix Award in the Spring of 2015.