Dogwoods line the path from the Blue Ridge
to the outskirts of the orchard, the call and bark of redbirds
recorded as notes in a ledger, a photograph in a frame
to suggest the silhouette in the doorway is smoking, fading,
as the car-trunk shuts with a crack in the drive, a coat sleeve
clapped in divide. Leaves quiver in the windshield lip,
the season is again to fall among the dull applause
of apples, on our backs, in the orchard.
In the stables, stirring hooves. Horses chew the fence
when a front approaches, winds rake the lake region.
The skin of everything tightens. I crack a stone with a Louisville
Slugger, listen to it whiz through the trees.
A herd of braking cars gone grazing in the street.
Beyond the wooden fence, implied, the dying heads
of dandelion, which flake and cover the lawn like a weed-virus.
I retire to the orchard, stepping the same path through the hills
as the evening’s blanket is pulled to the chin of the road.
The campfire tonguing the cold ground, a silver blade tip lost
in the soft flesh of a stump, winking in firelight. The mosaic,
as we lay on our backs in the orchard, delivers sweet pieces
of orange light, separating from spiced bough and leaf-cover,
the maddening fruit, the muted thumps of its dropping.