On nights with little moon or none,
the near-blind great-grandmother settles
in her chair in the middle of the orchard,
bare branches or new leaves or hard-green
or just-right or too-late pears
around her, depending,

and listens to the music of the spheres. She makes
a circle, a kind of moon, with thumbs and pointers
touching, and looks up through it to where the sisters
or the queen or the swan might be and waits
for the music to begin—whistling or humming
or bluesy harmonica or plaintive fiddle, sometimes
(she smiles at this) a harp

and all of it, lullaby or symphony, faint and strange.
Oftentimes, she stirs to find the night sky gone
and rises to the crackle of the sun waking up the pears.

Judy Brackett was born in Nebraska, moved to California as a child, and has lived in a small town in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills for many years. Her stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cultural Weekly, Dos Passos Review, Canary, West Marin Review, The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets (Backwaters Press), and elsewhere.

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Published in the October 23, 2015 issue: View Contents
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