on the mainland
the people in charge
do not “see” the
poorer folk from the South
who work for them,
a profound difference
of class.
a woman comes here
works at the bank
sends her daughter Marie
to school with an apple.
Marie pulls it out
and eats it.
the next day
Rapa Nui kids
grab the next apple
pass it around
and eat it
as is their custom
among brothers and sisters
cousins and cousins.
Marie’s mother is furious
it’s back and forth
recrimination after
verbal insult
to physical threat
they toss Marie’s
unforgiving mother
off the island.

According to Lily Gonzalez, social anthropologist, mother of six boys

Scott McVay was founding executive director of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. He was the 16th president of the Chautauqua Institution. He is fascinated by the songs of nature and the songs of humanity. His collection of poetry, Whales Sing and Other Exuberances, is in its second edition. He has published in Scientific American, American Scientist, Natural History, and Science, and written a memoir, Surprise Encounters with Artists and Scientists, Whales and Other Living Things. He notes that though “Marie and the Apple” is a world away in Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island), it suggests that different cultures misread each other.

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