They plunge in groups – in awful unison -
synchronized to perfection;
plump ones hit the ground the hardest,
split into indeterminate shapes,
Well-fed wasps devour the flesh,
bask in the pulp.
The wind is fickle at this fruitful time of year
and a gentle breeze can turn to a squall
in next to no time. In the yard
concrete is brutal.
Those that overhang the flat roof
of the outhouse bounce on their way down;
sound like thunder;
finer specimens, burnished gold –
the glittering prizes – out of reach
on the upper branches, lose their grip.
Carnage ends in a whirlwind –
almost as suddenly as it began;
only a few last hangers-on
left clinging to the naked boughs.
Greedy wasps, drunkenly sated,
stagger away to wherever greedy
inebriate wasps are wont to stagger.
Huge orange slugs appear from nowhere.
Fallen leaves disguise the late remains
of summer; compost ripens; soil
under the trees reeks like a cider press.
Two of the best stand stripped to the core:
apple-pie families, torn apart,
are devastated by the loss.
Winter shrivels the good-time memories.
High on a grey December branch,
one incongruous freedom-fighter
takes his final bow.
‘Fall Guy’ is a joint-Second Highly Commended Poem in the Swale Life Poetry Competition (January 2011)
CAROLYN KING lives on the Isle of Wight and is a widely published poet. Two of her poems have been cast in bronze on the Island. Her most recent collection is “Caviare and Chips” ISBN 0 9531860 2 4.