The trees in the orchard are more ripe with children
than they are with apples.
Fragile branches expose themselves
to be limbs of limber youth,
elbows protruding like gnarls on a tree,
knees scarred like dimpled bark.
If you aren't too careful
you'll end up snagging a ruby red sneaker
instead of a crisp McIntosh.
You may want to pick apples
but the children want to stand on the bow of a well-crafted ship
and focus their telescope on the boundless horizon,
calling out to sister ships
and firing canons at enemy hulls.
With every new autumn they are one year older
and soon the ship will begin to deteriorate –
planks rotting, sails fraying –
until the hull appears suspiciously like a leafy canopy
and the mast bears an uncanny resemblance to a tree trunk.
Several seasons pass
until the pirates' planks become branches that cannot hold their weight
and they fall like ripe, red apples
toward the churning sea.
The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections from Vermont's young writers. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio. The collaboration is organized by Susan Reid of Young Writers Project and Vermont Public Radio.