Orchard in February.
Branches, matted as hair, litter the rows after pruning.
Soil, strewn with old fruitfall,
soaks in last season’s rancid sun
seeped from these gnawed globes:
Ambrosias, Auroras, Pink Ladies,
now rusted and fleshless.
Their skins peel back
like those of fallen tomatoes in August,
left to blister and stink.
Small black birds sit motionless
against blank and separate sky,
below which, earth
in hibernatory ferment concocts
from sweetest Melus
this bitter brandy
for weathering out.
One wavers a bit in its frieze.
Even for them,
a little ivresse eases the dark months:
and suck the cold soil dry.
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Featured image: Pruned by Giles Turnbull. CC license.