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A poem by Courtney Kiolbassa ’18 explores how parents feel when children leave the nest.


A poem by Courtney Kiolbassa ’18 explores how parents feel when children leave the nest.

when you visited me in college for the first time
you convinced me that i wanted some groceries
probably because we needed to spend time together
probably because it was the least you could do
to serve me in the short weekend we had
to make up for all this time i’d been away.
i said, sure, i could really use some apples, and
you jumped like you had done many times before
at the chance to give me everything you could
which meant that selecting seven apples
became an extravagant reviewing process
of picking the perfect fruit for your daughter
to tell her how much you missed her.
This one has a bruise, and also,
I wish I could make dinner for you after school.
Do you see? It’s not as red as it could be.
Do you see? I’m even missing your dirty laundry.
dad, i wish i had the courage to tell you
that the way you seized every apple
spun it around
stared at it with inquisitive eyes
squeezed it between questioning fingers
told me more about your love than the words you didn’t say.
Courtney Kiolbassa '18 wrote "Apples" when she was a sophomore at Texas A&M University. The poem is inspired by her parents. It was first published in The Eckleburg Project, the official undergraduate literary journal of Texas A&M.

Managed by students, the journal features prose, poetry, visual art and photography from talented Aggies across campus, regardless of their major or discipline.


Courtney Kiolbassa ’18 wrote the poem “Apples” when she was a sophomore in college after her parents came to visit her for the weekend. Her mother immediately gathered up her dirty laundry, while her dad hopped in the car to buy her groceries. “I realized all the small ways my incredible parents showed their love for me, even though I sometimes forgot to call them or was too busy to drive home,” said Kiolbassa. “I started to see that love looks different for each person.”

While a student at Texas A&M, Kiolbassa was a National Merit Scholar, an inaugural Haynes Scholar, and the recipient of the Mary Pat and Michael J. Bolner ’73 President’s Endowed Scholarship. An English graduate, she has always believed in the power of storytelling and currently works in Dallas as a copywriter for Sherwood Fellows.

Her poetry aims to magnify single moments and experiences, a technique her elementary teacher called “explode-a-moment.” She searches for the hidden depths in ordinary, everyday interactions to make them extraordinary. In addition to poetry, Kiolbassa writes fiction and nonfiction and has an emerging interest in radio storytelling.


Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor