Poetry, Grades 10-12: Second Place

The Orchard — Isabel Rousmaniere

Forty-two cherry trees
in the orchard
six rows of seven
behind the large blue house with the brown-shingled roof
and white shutters.
oak tree
stands in the yard.
There’s a rope hanging from it,
and then an old car tire.
It looks like the picture on the cover of Because of Winn-Dixie
or possibly To Kill a Mockingbird
In the brown gravel driveway,
a dusty Volvo sleeps contentedly,
and a hen squawks inside a wired-in coop.
But back to the forty-two cherry trees.
They are green and teeming with life
(it is late June, the weather has been good lately,
and they are very well cared for anyway)
Little pink cherries peek out from behind leafy curtains
and if you look
v e r y c l o s e l y
you can see the birds’ nest balanced in the fifth tree from the left,
two down.
a whole family of them.
And there, in the middle of the orchard,
at the tip-top of the second highest
of the forty-two cherry trees
a little girl
sits nestled on a branch,