In The Orchard

Summer had ended with its cotillion of afternoon pimms and powdered smiles
A hanging jury of crows in the apple orchard muttered as the breeze stirred
The crisscross wires that slashed the fragile sky buzzed like cicadas
And another creak, louder this time, resonated from the orchard
Ripples on the wishing pond broke her reflection into a kaleidoscope of faces not her own
The imaginings of a thousand bright pennies at its depths
And the orchard creaked again behind the tall blue black pines
She touched her shawl breathing in the protection it afforded her
And stepped across the cracked flagstones with the mossy crevices
Placed her hand on the rickety orchard gate that she never wanted to mend
The grass was unkempt and idle bees buzzed amid the leftover flowers
A faint shape to her right shifted
Her long skirt catching on the coarse stalks that had taken root in the last moons
Above a chuckle from the winged watchers their faces bowed in judgment
She forced her gaze slowly upward, the fading day sepia on the creaking apple tree
The decaying fruit on the earth, the old wooden ladder swallowed in the long grass
The engraved letters in the bark and that white rose she planted
Some things are better left alone in the orchard, gate locked, wild, a frame of time untouched
And that frayed cord still knotted tight to the gnarled bough.