Review: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

This poetry collection takes a honest look on love, sex, food, and bodies. And it does so with dark, unsettling imageries that ultimately made it so unique.

Though it was brilliantly exceptional and bizarre, it ultimately failed to impress me save for a few poems:

If Tampons
Were for Guys

“Of course there are no pink wrappers,
only camo.
Forget Gentle Glide and pictures of pearls—
the box reads Smooth Ride across
the hood of a bitchin’ red Porsche.

For pads with Wings, Kotex shows jet fighters.
For Heavy Flow, ninjas surf a tsunami.
For Scented, smiling blondes in bikinis
enjoy sniffing a crotch.

Panty Shields are now just Shields
or maybe Boxer Armor.
On the commercial, tanks roll through the bathroom,
manned by scowling marines in white pants.

Then it’s back to Monday Night Football,
where both starting quarterbacks are on the DL.
“Dysmenorrhea,” mutter the trainers.
In other words, cramps.”

The Little Mermaid

“Even before I found the globe in his study
and realized that this endless land
is really just a few stray crusts drifting
through the blue, my world had shrunk

to the size of my tender new feet
on the dance floor, each minuet
like a harpooning,

to the size of the satin pillow he lets me
sleep on beside his bed,

to the size of his eyes reflecting my eyes
begging lovemeholdmedon’tleaveme,

to the size of my mouth, this dead
eel’s nest, open now while he feeds me
oysters, or, as I used to call them,


“How foolish I was to believe that
crooning my name from below meant something
more than pressing an elevator button.

They all want to feel themselves rising
higher. They all want the girl in the tower
to pour herself into their hands.

Who’s to say that, given a chance
at lower altitude, I would be different
from the rest?

Today will be the day I refuse
to lift my head from this damp pillow,
far away from the comb and the brush and the pleading
bodies always luring me down.”

Nature Lesson

“The dress code says
we must cover ourselves
ample pants,
skirts that reach well below
our lascivious knees,
polos buttoned over
the rim of the canyon,
a glimpse of which can send a boy
plunging to such depths
he may never climb back up
to algebra.
We say
that if a hiker strays
off the path, trips, and
winds up crippled,
is it really
the canyon’s fault?”

Overall, Poisoned Apples was a quick read, but failed to leave a lasting impression. However, the photographs scattered throughout really made for a more fascinating and haunting read: poisoned-apples-1-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-2-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-3-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-4-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-5-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-6-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-7-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-8-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-9-bookspoils

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Poisoned Apples, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

1 thought on “Review: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann”

  1. This seems worth checking out for the photos alone! They look wonderfully creepy, plus the idea behind the collection intrigues me even if the rest of the poems are disappointing. I’ll have to see if my library has this. Thanks for sharing the excerpts!


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