Rolland Vasin

Workman Orchard Tract: My Only Home

Sketch for David by Laura DeKloe

Loquat trees, in rows far enough apart so their green boughs
don’t touch, so the fruit isn’t crowded, where they can be
reached from the ground, or plucked by picker basket.

At the orchard’s edges are the peaches, apricots, plums,
branches sagging low to ground from weight of bulging fruit.
Hand-pick wearing long gloves else the fruit fuzz runs down
the arm and stings the rest of the day.

Stately English Walnut trees stand alone, sixty feet up.
At harvest time a long pole used to hit the branches
so ripe nuts fall to ground. Pick them up the same day,
spread on wire drying screens until the hulls fall off
or are power-washed away.

Pomegranate bushes in their special corner next to the double
wooden gates through which the cultivating tractor drives,
during Spring, furrow the tree rows for irrigation, cut weeds.

In winter, leaves crisp, brown, drift on down, mulch the soil.
The entire plantation foreboding branches, twigs, sucker-shoots
glisten from storm cell showers, white in frost before the melt,
wait their fate from pruning sheers, make way for new growth.

When I die, scatter my ashes on our orchard floor, return me
to the spectrum of elements from which I rose, to the silence
of the Universe, return me home for which I’ve so longed.

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