by Lesley Ingram

Here the county lies in an old skin
shedding hops, apples, sweetened air

blowing blossom and spores, the scents
of earth turned from season to season.

In the county archives maps unroll
their old boundaries, parish by parish

tithe by tithe, where orchards are named
in hundreds for the conservator to explore

inch by inch. She rubs across them slowly,
peeling years of dust and soil,

masked against the apple-breath of fungus
spread by cookers, eaters, ciders,

Slack-ma-girdle, Forest Styre, Redstreak,
Pig’s nose Pippin, Bastard Rough, Foxwhelp

Ten Commandments, Cwmmy Crab, Garter,
Crimson Quoining, Gennet Moyle, White Must

ingrained in the vellum.
Here the county lies on an old skin

shedding apples from an air possessed
by the scents of centuries.