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by William Snyder Jr.


From the photograph “Pear Blossoms in Mr. Stirling's Orchard, Kel­owna” by G. H. E. Hudson, 1909


Smell of pear, smell of

orchard road. Smell of hair,

like deep earth. She sits

by the road again, the orchard

behind her, her stool

on damp grass. Elbow to knee,

chin to palm, eyebrows

curving in to bridge of nose.

White skin. Thick, dark hair.

Smell of hair, unwashed

since yesterday, the day before.

Oil. She must be

crazy, the crazy woman.


A crow flies from

a pear limb. People must know.

She must be crazy. She

waits. She listens to crows, to

the swish of leaves. Like

her sighs. She waits

on her stool for the grocery man

to drive her down

the orchard lane to its end, his

grunts and appetites then,

surrounded by tree light,

pear bark. Sighs. She is tired,

bored. Her round face, her

smile half-masked

by her fingers, her jaw thrust

sideways by weight of head

on hand. It is hot today,

will be hotter.


She must have walked here.

She waits. Sweat beneath

her arms—the sleeves and bodice

of her dark green dress.

The dress covers her knees,

her shins. Smell of sweat, leaves,

dried blossoms. Smell of hair.

Cotton thread stitching

fabric. Cheeks, sweat, skin. Scent

of work and heat. Scent of waiting.


She waits for her husband. She

owns this orchard. She watches

pears, ripe and yellow

and ready to fall, watches workmen

climb narrow ladders.

She watches for children

who steal her pears. She likes

this place, these moments, imagines

a world beyond the mesh

of twig and shadow, beyond

the angle of ladder and thumb.