“The Apple Tree,” acrylic on canvas, by Donna Holdsworth, 2011. Used with permission.

by William Ford

I’m a laid off mooch
of a prof using up fuel
to cut grass close
around apple trees

where voles eat roots
and breed and breed
deep in the grass, hidden
from fox and hawks.

There’s no money,
just apples and thanks
if I’ve not damaged
the blade or a tree,

the bark a soft peel
at the slightest cut,
the boss relenting
with a half-hurt smile.

He knows I need this
something to do,
the mowing right now,
pruning later.

When I’m finished,
the sky’s all apricot
and salmon pink
and spider trails.

omega man

William Ford is the author of The Graveyard Picnic, Past Present Imperfect, and a pair of chapbooks. Recent work has appeared in Big River Poetry Review, Brilliant Corners, Nashville Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Weary Blues, and elsewhere.