One muggy evening in early August
while navigating my familiar four-mile loop
I shopped for trees I might later purchase
to plant in my cottage garden.
I ran a steady 8 minute mile while my gaze was tangled dangerously
in the variegated canopy shading the uneven sidewalk.
On previous adventures this has resulted in sprained ankles.
Some things one never learns.
A dogwood? An elm? An oak or an ash?
I analyzed trunk texture and leaf shape
for aesthetically pleasing combinations.
Not a quarter of a mile from our Main Street home,
an adolescent peach tree hugged an alley in a sullen fashion.
Its back was pushed against the brick wall of a local preschool
as though avoiding notice.
Its leaves were empty canoes and
its scrawny branches were sagging with boredom and fruit.
I stopped to sample a blushing golden orb.
The flesh gave way exquisitely to inquisitive teeth.
Fructose laced syrup bled down my chin,
a flawless liquor.
I glanced in surprise at the surly sapling.
It shrugged noncommittally
as though it hadn’t tried at all
to sculpt this perfect peach.