As I look over the cherry field
I feel eyes watching me, waiting.
There is something there, something left behind
in the garden that feels caught,
dragging from thorns I never thought to see.
With sweetness but a memory, the fruit is bitter in its absence.
The insects are clearer than ever
but they shrink as I take a step back.
Every step, growing smaller.
Until the cherries from years past shine like the setting sun,
their thorns unfurled
into leaves that brushed my bleeding hands
as they promised a treasure hidden just out of sight.
The further I back away, the more effort it takes
to remember that the cherries are a memory.
To not go running forward.
I tell myself that the orchard is gone,
that the gray briars are all that remain
of that cherry field—
the briars that I planted
as a child, in search of sweeter fruit.
In my hunger, I choked the cherries
that stood tall and still do,
But only in my memories.