Photo by Anna Evans Copyright 2006

At Gettysburg College, October 2005

I ask Tom Gibbon where he buys his apples,
And he says down Route 30 at the Round Barn.
Suddenly it's 1964;
An old man drives his green truck up to D-Dorm,
Parks it at the curb, plays his harmonica.
Young students spill out of the freshman dorm.
He sells us jars of rusty satisfaction,
And none of us know who he is, or what,
But we buy jugs of his sweet apple cider;
I keep mine outside on the window sill.
In one week it turns hard, fermented, frothy.
I drink pure alcohol till I get dizzy.
Whenever I now take a sip of cider,
I hear him playing his harmonica,
A haunted wailing poignant meditation,
His shadowy figure swaying on his crate
As gray light slips away from Lincoln Ave.
I never see him vanish, but he's gone,
Gone, that cider man, he's gone forever,
As orange leaves and blue skies turn to dust.

by Sander Zulauf

Sander Zulauf is editor of the Journal of New Jersey Poets, one of three co-editors of The Poets of New Jersey: From Colonial to Contemporary (2005), and founding co-editor of the Index of American Periodical Verse (1971-). His books include Succasunna New Jersey, Living Waters, and Where Time Goes (to be published by Dryad Press in 2007).

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