Still Life Scene
by Gay Williford

On my daily walk
I pass a lone pear tree
that stands at the far end
of a cluttered yard.
Its curved-down branches
lend it a gnarly, tired appearance
to its neglected state.

I watch it change seasonally—
white blossoms to leafy cover,
lush fruit to naked silhouette.

“Hi, Dad,” I call in passing—
to him who loved orchards,
raising Barletts, Sickels and Boscs
on our small forty-acre farm.

He'd fertilize and spray,
prune and snip, careful
to prop up branches
whose load was too burdensome.

I can see him up on a stepladder
late in a sultry August,
sleeveless white under shirt,
grimy cap and tanned arms
reaching up to pluck a prize,
gently filling bushel baskets
with these golden-skinned gems.

He exuded such pride in the harvest—
his children born of labors
expended through spring and summer.

Passing a bowl of halved pears,
a wonderful scent wafted up
and that first bite was pure nectar—
juicy, sweet pale-cream pulp,
the fantastic reward
for all the patience and love
that nurtured it.

Perhaps his caring eye
watches over this tree.


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