A wooden ladder leans against his peach tree,
uprights touching a laden branch.  When his fist

thrusts out at me, I’m quicker to cover my face.
Light sparks between my folded arms like light

flaming through a bushel basket, pure shimmer
but broken.  I’m learning to live in this orchard.

I crouch to pick through the windfall peaches,
choosing the least punctured, the least bruised.

Penelope Scambly Schott’s most recent poetry collection is Crow Mercies, winner of the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press in 2010. Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the Oregon Book Award for Poetry in 2008.

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