Orchard End, or The Laboratory of Continuous Effort

An apple tree bent double with fruit
grew in the middle of the living room
shaking gently
as the average family pootled by with plates
or devices in their hands

The room was almost all tree
everyone edged round it
Curiously no one picked a single apple
nor did the ripe fruit ever fall

The full tree stood there
a daemon to behold

Who lives in that house now
I can’t tell you
My childhood lives on there
and my parent shadows
and all my days and nights that will never bear fruit

The apple tree I speak of
roots itself partly in truth and partly in lies
Those roots are splinters of the true cross
They alone know why miracles are best avoided

More Poems by Penelope Shuttle