The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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Fruit Trees

Old man Peesel’s cherry orchard

of the empty prairie, 

the fruit reddened our fingers, lips,

until the shotgun glittered

from his window 

across dirt road. 

we bolted past pear tree

through another neighbor’s acreage,

three years waiting

before green fruit, no partridges. 

but at summer’s end,

apples and wild plums

crossed our paths on their own,

a mad smash of pulp and

tangy fragrance;

our shoes carried

a portion of their crushed sweetness

back to school. 

leaves turned rusty come fall,

but thorn apples 

still clung tightly to

hill-held trees,

branches we girls climbed

higher than boys on Thursdays,

thanks to acrobatics and ballet

after school on Wednesdays. 

we plucked sour-smooth ammunition,

cradled each in bent fingers

as if a dart,

aimed and whipped target straight

to boys’ throats,

taking their breaths away,

until we found

other methods.  

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and visual artist, is author of four poetry collections, many with themes, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices, and three chapbooks, including Drenched. Her nonfiction/memoir/creativity guide Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet won a National Indie Excellence Award. Learn more about Cynthia and her work through her Linktree.

Discover more from Cynthia Gallaher .