apple picking

she's a porcelain tile, this leaf. cold wind over still, warm earth. your childhood leaps up from the crackle underfoot. high clear sun, shading your eyes with a sweatered arm you walk. valleys of the orchard, friends arm in arm. in arm, in arm, the fruit trees' twig fingers interlock. their heart lockets drop into our palms. red, ochre, saffron, rust. granny smiths yet unwizened grin carefully, waiting for the frosts. granny and her child, wobbling and skipping, in the next row.

a pumpkin patch sighs under its own weight, sinking slowly into the crusted soil, ready for long slumber. heavy-gorged on the star so pallid now. like a candle guttering at the bell for second. vines like shephard's crooks, and a spill of milkweed fluttering. where are the friars with their meaty brews and barefoot hymns?

each tuft of grass gone to roots. each shivering butterfly waiting its turn, eggs laid up for the next tilting of the earth, wet and early-morning motionless, like a music box without a spring. the baking smell of the dough, the sugars, maple sap rendering, jars clattering on the shelves. not a farmer amongst the throng. they lay in the signs of proserity and good harvest. they lay in traditions they cannot understand. a scarecrow watches the last rows of corn drying, waiting the pire, waiting the black earth and hibernation. we stand on this floor of leaves, arm in arm.


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