Orchard Valley: A Portrait

There’s an older couple here –

Faces wrinkled from smiling –

That collects people like cherished trinkets.

They wave and smile and invite people to join them – if they feel more social – and if not,

“We’ll be just over here…”

Another couple sits in front of them

their laptops open

fingers wrapped around cups of coffee

He, the younger, leans in to the other

examines whatever’s on a third screen hidden from view

Midway through their conversation, the older

removes his earbud

but only for a moment.

Another has become a trio

She having adjusted the furniture like she would in her own home.

Their business talk around a low coffee table

right across from me.

Meanwhile the First –

the ones with all smiles –

focuses all their energy on a woman they’ve collected.

They listen, rapt and open-faced, at the story she tells them.

The bald man barely contains his joy

holding his face in his left hand.

She, with short yet shaggy grey hair, struggles along

concentrating with strained and squinted eyes,

as the younger tells her tale.

All around us are stories

Being told

Being read

Finding creation

Fighting for creation

And then they rise to leave

though they don’t want to let go

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