We were nurtured in orchards. Day and night, our cultivator painstakingly
harrowed hard dirt until the earth was tilled into something more habitable.
Under the gentle hands of the sun and running streams of ceaseless
chastises and exasperated affection sprinkled with stern words of
No sugar, love. Cavities and Drink more water, we grew.
Imagine a mother’s careful grip: a comb pulling hard and balls of hair
laying clumped on thistles — that is how we were harvested from our beds.
Her voice was gravelly, her expression mean, but her touches were soft
and careful — a quiet sorry to forcing us up and about, out of comfort
zones and the blanket protection of soil, of home.
Her hands were weathered and aged, and we watched the slow fold
of skin over skin, a soft reminder of passing seasons and growing years.
Her arms were Herculean and her shoulders like that of Atlas, but her fingers
were deft as she danced her way through the valleys plowing and disking
and coaxing us awake to the yawning horizon — a firm sign of endearment.
She planted apple trees — on them were freckled cheeks
kissed by the stars, an aurora across an expanse of red,
hanging sweetly for the picking on a mother’s arms —
and pick them people did. And when the trees were empty
and her limbs laid bare, her children returned and grew to fruition beside her.
And, under a mother's love, they flourished.