Peach Season

By Dawn Watson

after Simon Armitage

She vanished at twilight across the field, slipping
    to the woods
after clearing the leaves off the porch, leaving
    a note
for her wife and son and dismantling
    all the windows.
They had given her a basket and she filled it
    with peaches.
Hours passed, and she lost herself in peach trees.
    Then a day,
and she watched the orb spider knit
    a message
between two scuppernong vines. Then a month,
    and she took an axe,
made a pile of split wood. One night,
    she tucked
her wild legs beneath her and unscrewed
    them at the hip.

At home, her wife and son grew tired
    of magnolia cones
thumping the roof, and the air conditioning unit
    rattling the walls.
After a year, they scanned the fresh-cut field
    for a rare sight
of dolphins. The night was a closed box
    and they dug out
the recipe for peach pie. When the giant butterfly
    came clattering
up the hall, her wife could only freeze and hope
    it passed by.
Her son stretched out his arms to mimic
    the vast wingspan.
They puffed out their cheeks
    and laughed,
taking turns to bite the wooden spoon. At sunrise,
    the boy ran
a shower for his other mother and hoped
    she would reappear
in water the way sometimes the things we forget
    come back to us.

Years passed, and from the woods she watched
    lightning debunk
the boundary fence. The outhouse door
    walloped in the wind
and storms tore up the yellow field.
    When she didn’t return,
her wife and son grew the peach trees higher
    and adjusted
the recipe to reduce the nutmeg. In October,
    the stars set fire
to the woodpile and cicadas clicked so loudly
    the peach stones broke.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

“Peach Season” from The Stack of Owls is Getting Higher (The Emma Press, 2019). Reproduced with permission of the author.