Late blossoms


half the trees blossom in this old apple orchard.

The rest never bother, having died years ago
though they refused to lie down. Wolf River,
Empire, Red Delicious, even Crab Apple–

but no one comes to harvest this threadbare
abundance, except boys in late summer swinging
baseball bats at each other’s wild pitches,
laughing at the acrid spray of unripened flesh.

And still later, after first frost, and after
the worst blizzard, haggard and starving deer
stagger in like old women at slot machines,
dredging for whatever meager fortune

they can claim. Come Spring, it is easy to tell
the apples exploded by the boys’ surplus
of violence from those gutted in the deer’s
desperate hour. Where hoof and tooth could not

retrieve the fruit from winter, half eaten apples
seem to bloom as the ice that held them recedes.
These small hemispheres emerge heavy and ruddy
with the bitter perfume of abandoned earth.

in this old apple orchard.
The rest never bother, having died years ago
though they refused to lie down. Wolf River,
Empire, Red Delicious, even Crab Apple–

but no one comes to harvest this threadbare
abundance, except boys in late summer swinging
baseball bats at each other’s wild pitches,
laughing at the acrid spray of unripened flesh.

And still later, after first frost, and after
the worst blizzard, haggard and starving deer
stagger in like old women at slot machines,
dredging for whatever meager fortune

they can claim. Come Spring, it is easy to tell
the apples exploded by the boys’ surplus
of violence from those gutted in the deer’s
desperate hour. Where hoof and tooth could not

retrieve the fruit from winter, half eaten apples
seem to bloom as the ice that held them recedes.
These small hemispheres emerge heavy and ruddy
with the bitter perfume of abandoned earth.

– Linwood rumney –

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