Dan Peters

Mom Stands Where the Orchard Stood


There was this one tree that did not go down. It was the last
of Matson’s orchard. I was four years old, standing next to Mom.
We’d been out all day with errands and returned home
to find the apple trees gone. A man pushed them into piles,
even those my mother had marked with pink tape.
And he would’ve knocked down the last one had we not
come home and had Mom not dropped her groceries
right there behind the garage and gone to the field and stood
with her hands on her hips until the man noticed her
and shut down his tractor. He came over long enough
to hear her say, You were supposed to leave
those trees. I marked them. His face was covered in dirt
and wet with perspiration. His brow lined into a question.
Mom’s face was cool and dry. Leave this tree, please. There is this one tree
across the right of way from the house that still grows apples,
still shades her children and grandchildren. Each year wild,
unpruned branches drop fruit like it’s nothing, like it is not alone.



Dan Peters teaches English at Yakima Valley Community College. Since 2010, Peters has been the co-editor of Blue Begonia Press, a publisher of poetry and fine literature. His own books, published by Jim and Karen Bodeen, former editors at Blue Begonia, include, Down the Road the Children Go (2009), The Reservoir (2002), and the chapbook, In the Easement of Absent Ties (1998). Peters lives in Selah with his wife and two children.

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