The Orchards | A Selection from Western Solstice by Leonore Wilson

The Orchards

by Leonore Wilson


I learned the body first

scrambling under wire

kneading the black earth

with my fists, as if

to get it right, as if I

were hoofing the furrows,

spreading the scoured seed.

Under the saplings,

under the parental trees,

near the one-room schoolhouse,

the heavy pears

of summer were plump as textbooks,

the traffic savage

and in waves; convertibles

and boats with their tops down,

teenagers shouting

like mischievous geese


I resolved to die to you

there under the clear sky

of my motherland.

Love was unglamorous

and quick

as you

unburied me like gold

under trunks, rolled me

from shade to sun, the dried out

ears of wheat bruised under my belly,

the stubborn foxtails, oats,

little fangs of thistles.

And afterwards

we’d eat the fruit

that had fallen as though

it were left for us; the milk-white

meat like wine.

In the orchards, I learned

god wanted us nurtured, forgiven;

he showed us there

we could have it


that world unbroken,

all plaint and rich

with desire.


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[box] Featured Image by Duncan George | Poem featured in the collection: Western Solstice. Now Available.[/box]