The Voice Issue 32: October 2017 - Page 27


The trees in the orchard are more ripe with children

than they are with apples.

Fragile branches expose themselves

to be limbs of limber youth,

elbows protruding like gnarls on a tree,

knees scarred like dimpled bark. 

If you aren't too careful

you'll end up snagging a ruby red sneaker

instead of a crisp McIntosh. 

You may want to pick apples

but the children want to stand on the bow of a well-crafted ship

and focus their telescope on the boundless horizon,

calling out to sister ships

and firing canons at enemy hulls. 

With every new autumn they are one year older

and soon the ship will begin to deteriorate –

planks rotting, sails fraying –

until the hull appears suspiciously like a leafy canopy

and the mast bears an uncanny resemblance to a tree trunk. 

Several seasons pass

until the pirates' planks become branches that cannot hold their weight

and they fall like ripe, red apples

toward the churning sea. 

- Firegirl03, Burlington, VT