White trunks of birches flash
in the quick sun and shadow woods.
At the top of a rise, a lightning-split
elm and fallen fence. Behind,
an overgrown lane of ancient maples,
lopsided and burly, leaves stained
with autumn. Beyond, a barn collapsed
in a spiral of timbers and twisted roof.
A faded farmhouse stares ahead,
dead-windowed and empty.
In the yard a homemade hay wagon,
two flat tires.
All around the random decay.
The crawling edge of woods.
Below the house, a gentle sloping
orchard. Gnarled trunks standing
where a farmer’s hands first set them,
still living and bearing fruit.
Runty apples reddening for
Fredric Hildebrand is a retired physician living in Neenah, WI. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, "Northern Portrait" (Kelsay Books, 2020), and "A Glint of Light" (Finishing Line Press, 2020). His recent poetry has appeared in The MacGuffin and Third Wednesday.