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