A stranger saw my father’s heart,
sawed his breastbone in two.
Saw chambers where a mélange
of tired desires downed in fascia,
feathery down, behind velvet, irreversible
curtains. The stranger parted the curtains.
Did the stranger see my father’s dream
of orchard-keeping there?
Slow hills crested with first frost.
A record of original reds, an old shade
where he would rest his kept ache
from before we seeds were born, or borne
by wind away. Before we clamored glad
to our parents’ laps, hay and mud
in twiggy nests of tangled hair,
cider dripping from our lips.
From a low branch, the surgeon snipped
a scion, a bypass graft, stitched shut
the open orchard in its autumn fog,
where ripening apples hang, in even
golden rows—uneaten—and drop.