The Orchard Thieves


In the rain, we circle around like dogs
who can’t find sleep, we carve the dark

out of plums, purple as an uncurled thumb,
each flesh sways through leaves, throwing shadows

on the rain-soaked trees, we lie
underneath. Handing me the fleshy-pit,

polyps of a year gone by. Your heart, clever
as a bat batting the powder-film of fireflies,

torturing their light. All our gods are made
to clean, each divine thing given another

task to keep shining the blue mirror
in your animal eyes. Imagine a mare

muzzling the moon, pale breathfree
to unlatch and ripen us back to us,

here again. Through the odor of stars,
we recognize this return, a life organized

and look, here is the water, as if watching
a body move under blankets:

all dog-paddles of white waves
riding along the fringe of frozen ocean.

Stain of the sacred, a grove held by the belly
of my printed dress. Hair of the fruit, soft as grins

of animals who are whistled to slaughter.
The only sound here is the rain, the clean ax

rings certain syllables of being wrapped back
into red silk. Each tender kiss drifts inside

the island between and this is the way
the heart runs on this syrup.

Jai Bashir