Greer Engle-Roe

Homestead Orchard

I stood in a daze by a distant window,
phone clutched to my ear, hearing
your laughing voice. Six months after, I sweep
along roads on unfamiliar wheels, swerve
in sickening motions that trace the trail
of my thoughts across the landscape. I pass
cow pastures, and cornfields scythed
down, to a dirt road that trundles up the hillside.						

No sign or entryway to pass, I cut the engine, 
step out. A tree stands gnarled
and twisted, bending over with the weight
of its fruit. I do not stop to ease
its burden, head instead for the highest ground. 
Along the trail, I study the yellow beech leaves, 
green at the veins, the last tones visible
before gold steals over. The tips are burnt,
the color of the hardwood floorboards you hid 
your handgun under. You never liked the sight 
of it, but said it was needed. I do not need 
apples that hang dreary, or mottled bark shot

through with silver; you would have taken
a picture. I reach the top of the hillside, look 
outwards at a distant field. The trees
behind it are a brilliant red, little clouds

of flame. There you burn, smokeless,
and dress the field in a layered sunset robe. 

Greer Engle-Roe attends Interlochen Arts Academy; Engle-Roe tied for third place in the Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest for Michigan High School students. For more information on the contest, please visit the Albion College English Department website.

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