In Shteveland, fabled of old,
thrive the Papple trees tall.
The papples do burst from fragrant
flowers of May days drenching in sun.
Farmer Fadoul walks his orchard
alert for the papple stealing sgivens
whose mouths are myriad of mirrored
sgiven faces and must be ever guarded against
for they are fearsome papple eaters.
He lovingly caresses the sturdy
trunks of each Papple like he is greeting
the curves of his good wife each night.
He knows them all and when they hurt.
Near the end of one row he spies a crack,
the wind has pushed the papple limb far,
and in it will disease fester unfettered.
But Fadoul tears fabric blue from his shirt
and binds the wound resolutely well and stout.
He rounds the end and comes back a line
and sees the sign of a sgiven den with its
used needles and wrappers of cookies.
Fadoul shakes his tight fist at the hole.
Scoffing at fear he whips out his spade
and digs the hole open enough for his girth.
The pile of earth grows prodigiously high
until he comes to the sgiven lair door
made from well planed papple wood.
Fadoul knew from each tree this wood
has come and he bellows up shaking roots
and clay from the tunnel roof. “This sgiven’s
neck shall be in my grimy grasp this day!’
Still, he knocked upon the door polite-like,
he wanted to gain entry and had no heart
to hurt the papple wood destructively.
He knocked again and then the many voices
of a great sgiven answered from t’other side.
“Yes? Are you the Papple Delivery Guy? Are you?”
Fadoul bristles and clenched his teeth tough.
“YES! Yes, I am. I have many fine papples
to show a connoisseur of your stature and taste.”
“You don’t sound like Jimmy the Papple Delivery Guy.”
“He’s sick.” “Are you Minh the other Delivery Guy?”
“Vacation.” “Mike of Virtual Papple Shelf and Beyond?”
“Ghosted himself.” “Oh, sad! Matt the Unadornable?”
“Up the Warka Tree.” “Hua of Chinese Papple Tea?”
Fadoul was reaching the end of his ability for calm.
“No, I’m the King of Papples from Phil, Mac, Brandon and John.”
“Not Tim of Leonides Papple and Snowth Emporium?”
Fadoul clenched and ground his teeth in sheer frustration.
“No…” “But you have delicious papples for me?”
In a sing song voice he answered “Yes I do-oo!”
“Just a minute!” Fadoul stretched back his spade as far
as it would go behind into the tunnel and waited.
And waited. And some more. Then it was touching the wall.
But the shovel was snatched back and the farmer
turned to see the grinning multiple mouths of the sgiven
and many handlebar moustaches a bristling there.
The resourceful imp had a side door just in case…
The sun set on the Papple Orchard quiet and warm
shadows stretching long and dark and no sound save
the birds in the uppermost branches of the tallest one.
They sang a goodbye melody so pure and so sweet.
“No one, no one, enters the door of a Sgiven.”