Orcharding

An old woman I never met
gave me her trees,
the trees of her heart,
the trees of her home,
trees that were, themselves,
Elders
at the time of the giving,

a time that was long after
the old woman
had used the apples
to feed her children,
her grandchildren,

a long time after
her tired feet no longer
walked the ancient orchard,
when only her ghost
collected the wind-falls
into her apron for safe keeping.

And now,
these apples
have fed my children too,
her great, great grandchildren,
and it’s down to me
to save her trees,
oh, not from dying,
for these old tree people
are surely on their way,
following after her.

But, if I am clever,
if I am worthy,
tiny slips of the Old Ones
will survive
and grow into a new
Ancient Orchard
for me to give away

Perhaps to someone
I’ll never meet,
To a new future grandmother,
My trees given again
After I am an old woman.

©2019 Annette Meserve