A Man Without a Vineyard

By Charles Lennox

Another season passes without fruit. So, to fulfill his promise, the father shouts to the heavens to rain down fire on the barren stone fruit trees in the garden. Or, let a tempest come and uproot every last one. They are only useful for throwing into the Atlantic, anyhow. The father calls down his curses, but, curiously, nothing burns. Everything in this little cul-de-sac of the world stays the course. Undeterred, the father has his eldest son, the boy with the weak throwing arm, gather up his brothers and assign them this task: pluck every leaf off of every stone fruit tree. And, as you pluck off each leaf, say, “Plum tree, this is for not bearing my father any plums. Cherry tree, this is for not bearing my father any cherries.”  Do this also with the nectarines and the peaches. The boy who acts like a crybaby needs help from the boy who some nights wets the bed, but by the time the sun is at its highest, they are finished. The father, justified, returns inside the house. But the boys remove their shoes and run circles on a garden floor lush with fresh green leaves, and the stone fruit trees, so naked and nameless, live on.


Charles Lennox lives and loves in Orange, CA.

Photo/Image by Lesley C. Weston

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