Poetry by Mallory Hobson: Orchard Keeper

Poetry by Mallory Hobson: Orchard Keeper
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Orchard Keeper

or

On Answering the ‘Assistance Required’ Call Button in the Liquor Department as a Young Female Supermarket Employee

I walk through the darkened woods
The goblin men upon my heels;
I show to them the fruit-trees’ goods,
The plums and grapes for evening meals.

The bogeymen upon my heels
Pluck sour berries from the vines,
Pick plums and grapes for evening meals.
They tell me I should come and dine

With them on berries from the vines—
They’ll take me from these orchard trees,
They tell me; I should come and dine!
An evening full of pleasantries!

They’ll take me from these orchard trees,
They wheedle, cajole, hiss and whine,
An evening full of pleasantries—
Wouldn’t that be something fine?

Their wheedles, cajoles, hissing whines,
Are lost among the orchard fruit.
“Wouldn’t that be something fine?”
I stand, unshaken, by the roots

Of ancient trees of orchard fruit.
My role is here; I won’t be swayed.
I stand, unshaken, by the roots.
I won’t be moved by ugly fae.

My place is here. I won’t be swayed.
They growl, they ask again, they sneer.
I won’t be made to move by fae.
Long ago I felt some fear

Of their growling, sharp-toothed sneers,
I shrank down, wore old tattered things.
Long ago, I felt that fear.
Now I wear necklaces and rings.

Fear is just a tattered thing.
I look lovely, I walk proudly.
I wear necklaces and rings.
I looked poorly; still they found me.

I look lovely, now. Walk soundly.
There’s really nothing I can do.
Lovely, poorly, still they hound me.
I do my job without ado.

The only thing that I can do
Is lead them through the darkened woods
This is my job, without ado:
Just show them to the fruit-trees’ goods.

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