Fruitless

If you ask me, an orgy does have its oppo­sites:
paper-clipped notes on a podi­um come close;
and also, the soli­tary yeti as he hun­kers down

in a Himalayan bliz­zard, decid­ing firm­ly
that he refus­es to eat his own feet no mat­ter what;
even long lin­eages in the Bible, despite describ­ing

gen­er­a­tions of fruit­ful peo­ple gone forth in a froth
of mul­ti­ply­ing — Bub­ba begat Blu­to who begat
Jehosephat — even that is sor­ta the very dead­pan

essence of anti-orgy. Final­ly, the orgy’s antithe­sis
dwells in how I’ve tried half my dullard life
to coax fruit from brit­tle stub­born sticks of trees,

to have my own lit­tle orchard, frost-threat­ened
blos­soms herald­ing fruity bless­ings… but hell,
I’d set­tle for a sin­gle god­damn decent apple.

I was ten when I first bought an apple tree
and plugged it in the ground, jug­ging water to it
for sev­er­al days, then watch­ing it grow min­i­mal­ly

each year, my dad’s cat­tle strip­ping it of leaves
every sum­mer when the grass dried tough. Then,
a dwarf orange tree — six or eight leaves on a stick

in a pot — that died in its win­dow maybe a month
after form­ing a per­fect green orange that swelled
to the size of a mar­ble before falling to the dirt.

Now, behind my one-rowed chain­link vine­yard
I keep a pair of sick­ly peach trees, one scrawny
apple, and two plums with some ambi­tion,

but their fruit nev­er fails to dis­ap­point, rarely
yield­ing more than fuzzy hard knobs like vel­vet
knuck­le­bones, lit­ter­ing the May-June lawn

with their under­nour­ished sui­cides. I mow
them under, search­ing the boughs for one or two
blinks of col­or, some­thing like a true fruit.

Chad Woody lives in Spring­field, Mis­souri with wife Heather and daugh­ter Pene­lope. Check out his books avail­able on lulu.com: Eel and Bathing Beau­ty Both (poems), Uncle Knuckle’s Pre­pos­ter­ous Nar­ra­tions (all-ages sto­ries), and Estranged Clone Reunion (essays & humor).