Orchard

Crisp meat of the tree.
Red beating heart of Satan.

Lobes of frail white leaves
hung heavy from the rain.

Knots on branches filling gaps
in the sky when we’d look up

Laying scattered and bruised
on the hard earth after play.

Set into rolled paper bags
by love’s lunch, and gravity.

At rest beneath a sling bag
on the passenger seat at dawn.

Taken in haste as a breakfast
whose quick wits make up time.

Ignition, u-turn, acceleration.
When I reach

to lift it
a bite

already taken.
My mind, ganglia, age.

I scan the landscape missing
the swallow, the sweet stab

of teeth. The flesh unbrowned,
incisor scrape-shape, familial.

And the rest, as filling now
as it was on that fall hill.

But something’s gone, family farms,
fresh cider, the need to look

for wormholes. Years, like pesticides
killing seemingly useless things.

Taking with it names and faces
of secret keepers, sexual partners,

your third car, fourth kiss, good cells
around the cancer, and the bees.

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