Steven Cramer

            Goodbye to the Orchard

Beautiful from the get-go, we were
incarnations of the new, and pure sex.
I'll miss that, along with the unicorns.
The organic bower of our garden grew
into anybody's memory of a bed
or a mattress, in a shack near a lake.
"Mistakes, like love, are to be made,"
you said. I hadn't thought of that.

That first autumn was easy, the liquor
of decay headiest at noon. And the orchard,
let's face it, had begun to resemble a casino,
all its tables rigged in our favor. The yoke
of being cared for is what cast us out,
not that immense, bearded librarian,
our curator, and not our having learned
how to get on one another's nerves.

Goodbye to the orchard: green
one day, the next day blood. We know
to stiffen at a voice; how to tell the truth
from an untruth; what's sweet, what stinks.
Behind each sleeping dog, another to let lie.
Who knew an innocence taking ages to perfect
could fall so short when time came to live?
You knew, and then you let me know.

Steven Cramer, Goodbye to the Orchard, Sarabande Books, 2004.