Child in Forgotten Orchard
A child wandering in a clutch of apple trees
puzzles over the lichen that flakes the trunks
in patches of fur, the pale green echoed
on a penny she finds in the dirt. A bird
breaks into her wondering–flutters
down and disappears into the long dry grass,
rises to land on a twig and drops again.
She knows the bird as a blur as she waits
for the grownups next to the ruined house
to end their argument about who the hell
owns this place. Then, just before the bird darts
into sky, it flies so close to her eyes the wings whirr
—flitty as dust—through her heart. She stands agog
in a strange old world, broken open, breathing.
Laura Long co-edited Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia (WVU P, 2017), and she is author of the lyrical novel Out of Peel Tree (WVU P, 2016), finalist for three book awards; and two poetry collections, The Eye of Caroline Herschel: A Life in Poems‘(2013) and Imagine a Door (2009). Her writing has received a James Michener Fellowship and other awards, and appears in Shenandoah, Southern Review and other magazines. She teaches at University of Lynchburg in Virginia.