our bradford pears had a habit of falling

By Ryan Gulledge

With a resounding whump that shook the yard.

I was nine, scabs-of- the-day fretting both knees,

my one good eye scarcely missing

the lonely pirouettes of browning leaves.

The split umber trunk did not cry out

for the yellow afternoon, yet spooked the birds;

the last robin flock departed

in a cluttered, black-specked herd.

My father came out, axe rigid in hand,

Beard bristling as he spoke:

“These don’t do too well, do they?”

As if to eulogize the fallen growth.

When I was alone, I found myself here.

Weaving boyish shadows cast by these pears.

Waxing nostalgic, talking to myself,

swinging low from branches without a care.