Bare Ruined Orchards

In the road of the trees, there are
no corners; you might flit for a long
time, forget the direction you
intended.  You might drown in a
sea of verdigris, a blizzard of
crackling—leaves unfurling,
breaking off,  drifting to earth.
If there is a clock it is not in synch
with any other clock, it is the timer of
now-an-apple-is-almost, now-a-
caterpillar-is-about-to-.  And the
seasons each take a long time to finish,
though they have a progression, implacable,
stately as dancers approaching in a
contradance, the weaving hands and
nimble feet. Keeping up is breathless.
Autumn: the stripped branches,
intoxicating scent of barrel after barrel—
Pippens, Ashmead’s Kernel, Winesap,
and Jonathan,  Northern Spy. We used
to name each thing with care, then
in the road of the trees forget one
at a time.

Sheila Black’s books include House of Bone, Love/Iraq (both CW Press) and Wen Kroy (Dream Horse Press- forthcoming this year). She co-edited with Jennifer Bartlett and Mike Northen Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press), named a 2012 Notable Book for Adults by the American Library Association (ALA). In 2012, she received a Witter Bynner Fellowship, for which she was selected by Philip Levine. She was most recently a featured poet at the 2014 Split this Rock. She lives in San Antonio, Texas where she directs Gemini Ink, a literary arts center.