Apples rot on the orchard floor,
abandoned by the farmer. His child,
now a grown man, killed
in the war. What point in apples
once your child is dead?
What point in faith or fortune, sun
or stars? His grief all the burden
he can bear – a bushel basket more
would overwhelm him entirely.
He struggles to recall joy.
He is not the only one who knows
this brutal loss. Surely it should come
with its own name. The Inuits
reportedly have many words
for snow. Grief,
like snow, differs in color
and weight, depending
on the loss. He questions what
to do next, prays the Universe
will offer peace, will say
there is a point in going on.
Young Tom will never return to this farm.
Useless to keep it, when a developer
will readily pay to plow under the crops,
fell the trees. He cannot explain, even
to himself, why he stays on, each morning
the same: He gazes at fallen apples,
herds goats into orchard aisles to gorge
on their decomposing sweetness.
© Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
Kelly Ramsdell Fineman lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and has won awards from Writer’s Digest for her work. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies, in journals including Up & Under, Chantarelle’s Notebook, and U.S. 1 Reports, and in books for the commercial and educational markets. Her first picture book, At the Boardwalk, was published by Tiger Tales Books in March 2012.