Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Arriving Late to the Orchard

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because I always get lost
or our car breaks down
or I oversleep
or write the directions wrong
we always arrive late
when I step out into the sun I see the others
drive away on the hayride
truck turning slowly piled up laughing wiggling bodies
on hay
trailer disappears deep into the orchard
and they watch and see us arrive too late

I lift your toddler body from the car
and you ask,
where our friends?
and I say they’ll be here soon and
I don’t say about the hayride
we missed
instead turn your attention to the orchard
to the rows and rows of smallish trees
with fairytale entangled branches

your soft hand clutching two of my fingers
your squeaking laughter takes the space
left by the hayride truck’s engine
the wind blows away the gasoline air
for the cider-scent
here around our feet in the golden grass
here weighting the branches next to your forehead
even higher above here reflecting the September sun
the sweet fruit
the sweet fruit
and all ours to pick

Melanie Burdick’s poems have been published in Seveneightfive Magazine. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her husband, four sons, a (male) dog, and a cockatiel (also male).

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