The Orchard Worker

Everyday, he brings his dog
to the orchard,
and keeps to himself,
doesn’t talk to anyone else
but his best friend.
They both have a low growl
when they do talk,
like a tractor engine sputtering.
It sounds like two guard dogs
warning the rest of us
not to come too close.
They go about their day,
and I go about mine
on our opposing sides,
I with my quiet apples,
they with each other,
a conspiracy of dog and man.
And they walk about,
silently stacking hay bales,
digging fire breaks,
barriers that keep out
frost and flame,
and the burden of human speech.

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