Nestled among the meadows of sage and sand
sits the small old town where the Orchards
grow no more.
Under the blue sky I drove through this town
past empty houses and stores.
The meeting hall lays quiet and stalled.
No longer do citizens mingle within its walls.
Trees wilt at odd angles, the irrigation wells
draw dry. It’s evident, the Orchards here
grow no more.
On the corner of First and Main an old man sits and drinks. He looks up with a far out gaze.
What happened, I ask.
His voice cracks as a warm breeze gently
blows weeds: Twenty fruitless harvests ago, they all decided to leave.
But he can’t leave. He was born here
and he’ll die here. But he’s not alone.
The memories and emotions are still here
in the buildings of the town where the
Orchards grow no more.
Mrs. Bell and her divorce, Ron and Dane’s grudge, The Smith’s family feud.
The mice and coyote still seem to fight on cue.
Even when fruits no longer fall, the anger
does not stall.
The man puts his bottle down and gazes
to the wilted trees. It was a nice place, he said.
But when the drought ran long and lakes ran dry, the Orchards grew no more.
Now the houses are empty and church doors
are dusty, as the trees grow slim and lanky.
A tear falls.
Soon I will die, the old man says as he closes both eyes, but not before the Orchards
grow once more.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the December 2015 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.