The Stand along the Hudson – Poem by Ann Thornfield-Long

Fruit hangs from the bony fingers of the tree,
some pippins, barely past their bloom,
others in full sun, pink, plump and taut
with nectar. The sight of them makes the mouth
water. A few with sinewy stems
and thickened skin still cling to branches.

Shade here is always pleasant
and fragrant in summer-warmed breeze.

Now the reaper staggers through the orchard
bumping into trunks, drunk. He fills
his slatted bushel basket without thought
for easily bruised, perfect skin or the hard knobs
of youthful beginnings or the thickened peel.
Basket after basket, he dumps into the mill
and leaves to ferment. Where has the orchard
dresser gone?

Image credit: silhouettes of apple tree ( and the grim reaper ( superimposed on McIntosh apples cluster (supermarket stock photo)

Ann Thornfield-Long
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