Cherry Blossoms in an Orchard

Summer, 2004 / No. 12

Someone remembers smoke

rising from holes

drilled in teeth, the search

for dull metal

in the back of the mouth,

the glint of an earring lost

in the elbow of a drain.

Someone remembers a bicycle

crushed by a car, an antelope

crushed by a car, and a chicken’s egg

tossed in a picnic game

landing safely in a plastic cup.

Someone remembers

cherry blossoms in an orchard.

Scandalous white blossoms,

his favourite little what’s-her-names.

He remembers them, not

because of their scent,

or because August

fattened their green, gushing

ovaries into hard, sour fruit,

but because a dry summer

brought mice, and the mice

invited owls.

And there was gluttony

among the mice, and joy

among the owls, such that

at picking time, the trees

were bare, and the soles

of his boots snapped on grass

packed with tiny grey bones.

And what’s her name, that flower,

was shaking in the doorway,

blaming him. And he hasn’t been

home in twelve years.