The evidence shows
the black bear living in the swamp
eats apples.

Quickly, green scat leads
through torn blackberry vines.

As we follow, elderly apple trees
try to escape the orchard
that existed on this hill
a hundred years ago.

They lean gracefully like Olympic runners
and duck under towering maples
while dark cherry trees enviously watch
this sudden bolt for freedom.

Their bark sweats and feels like soft sponge,
but small fruit is flavored with cinnamon
and tart tannin dreams hardened with youth.