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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 3, September 2018

Charlotte Mandel
West Caldwell, New Jersey, USA

The Last Farm Stand

Baskets of apples line up on the low porch of a white frame house. Prices crayoned on cardboard squares tacked to wooden sticks. The porch creaks with my step, and out comes the tender of this orchard—tall, lean, whitehaired. Word-thrifty. The macouns attract me with their sharp-sweet fragrance, their red color striped with green at the stem. The man upturns the basket's apples into a brown paper bag. The front door opens again. A gaunt woman emerges in faded print cotton dress and loose cardigan, white hair in a braided bun. The man stands, arms hanging down. When I open my purse, the woman puts out an arthritic knuckled hand, palm up. I hand her four dollar bills that she quickly folds into a pocket of her sweater. From the other pocket, she fingers two quarters for my change and drops them into the cup of my palm.

Halfway to my car parked on the dirt road, I pass a pile of cut-up logs next to a tree stump, its diameter the length of my arm. An aroma of fresh cut wood.

sawdust caught in metal teeth
a century of tree rings



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