The Burning of the Apple Orchard

Julia Ponder

The morning begins with a molting of limbs;

the workers have begun the ceremonial burn

of the apple orchard. Each tree is wrenched

from the dirt and dragged to a growing cascade

of branches and ember; fuji, macintosh, and golden delish,

have all lost their definition as the inferno

grows and the sun peeks over the horizon to bear

witness. It is a purge of past selves,

diseased, pest-ridden, or perfectly healthy.

You can see the bonfire from miles away beckoning

as it dispels, inviting as it cautions. Each flake of new

ash like some secret message landing in your gnarled

hands while you marvel at the sky, saying to you,

This is what you were, this is what you are, this 

is what you will be. Already the neighboring orchards

have started to redden and blossom. Do they take notice

of the scorched earth beside them?


Shawangunk Review Volume XXXI Copyright © 2020 by Julia Ponder. All Rights Reserved.

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