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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