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TWO POEMS by Mary Ellen Miller THE ORCHARD A sudden hissing of the sensesstung by the monotone of summer beeschurns nostalgia for the orchard, and I am there climbing apple trees gnarled as the hands of patriarchs; breathing the plum, the pear heavy drippling a warm mosaic in the lush and emerald park; squeaming the brown slick-shine of fallen peaches ravished to rot by life ancient as earth; smelling the dead sea quiet of primal beaches in the orchard summer scent of Eden's birth. I am full forever of the orchard, stained in the blood-beat rhythm of its carnal song of pale child dark fruit dreaming in the branches, yet why is the orchard memory feel so hard, so strong? Is the smell of rotting apples the archetypal smell? Or is the pulsing orchard memory made of lonely farm child only, strange and solitary re-creating what was read in Genesis and fairy tales of witches' houses pebbled with peppermint and figs old as Lot's daughters crawling into the cave for what I never dared to ask but cared in secret and in pain from make-guess knowledge all pulse and heat and wishes ripened on evil wolves and prophets writhing in the sweetly guilty mind? Or is it merely green felt summer and the pure taste there? No. It is not loss of innocence that growing up must bring. I grow toward purity in sunlight, sterilized of childhood's heady sins but hungry for the orchardits rich and filling guilt's primeval charmshade and mist swarming in the senses, naked and darkly knowing in the orchard on the farm. 78 READING YOUR POEMS That's all rightI mean the way the clank of the washing machine leftover Me on the dining table multiple beeps and whines of the house Beat in your poems like a pulse. You go to sleep in stale arms of smoke in a bed of paper fodder. And wake to notes and books due at school yesterday. The kids and I: our breath kills flies. The click of our boots frightens mice out of the house forever. Only your dreams you say in one way or another bear still the wonder of frost in the light of the stars hounds barking waist-deep in cold water. You sit with us a stranger still cold from the hunt. Your own eyes look at you from the faces of your childrenfull of tangled thoughts. My hands shake sorting the socks. It's all right. I move like an old film jerky and dated and funny in you through you and beyond walking the future. At night we turn you over in your sleepthree little elves and big mama working quietly together the smallest slithers under furniture to retrieve your socks. We huddle without sounds happy the four of us together. The glow of our faces lights the dark cave of your open mouth. A small girl pats your naked thigh. 79 We have stopped your snoring— odd roars over your dreams of wild honey in a mountain pasture. I fold the cover over your hills of bone and muscle. Row after row of neat black hair on your legs and chest wave like spring grass in the future dreams of my children. What I want is mine. I also know it is the dream that matters. TWO POEMS by Albert Stewart THE UP RIVER TRAIN At work we heard the whistle blowing Miles over crinkled hills, the sound Bird-clear and sweet with distance. My father looked up: Listen, he said, listen, The Up River Train above Chavies. Listen, he said, You can hear it shuffle-puff and pound on the rails. Listen, he said, holding his hand for attention, You can hear it enter the Walkertown tunnel. Listen. The shush of sound. Listen. The return of sound. Now she's blowing for Hazard, he said. He stood as if reflecting. Then: You'll not hear the likes of that often, Maybe once or twice in a lifetime if you're lucky. Wind and air have to be just right, he said, And, you have to be in the right place. Bending to...


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pp. 78-80
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