Orchard City

Orchard City I-1When they were kids, this was all farmland.

They married and bought a house early on, while the neighborhoods were still being built. Every morning, they walked their dog past the open doors of a coffee shop.

The city offered each homeowner a free flowering pear tree. They planted theirs in the front yard.

The roots grew until the sidewalk rose and buckled. The city sent a bill for $500.

In the mornings, they open the door. The dog’s muzzle is gray. He’s stiff with arthritis. They walk on opposite sides of the street, and take turns holding the leash.


Leah Browning is the author of three chapbooks. Her fiction and poetry have recently appeared in Glassworks Magazine, Fiction Southeast, Toad, Mud Season Review, Bluestem Magazine, and The Poetry Storehouse.


Photo credit: Seeman

5 Responses to “Orchard City”

  1. I love the hyperbolic image of two people walking the same dog from opposite sides of the street. It’s laden images like this that make me love the extremely short story. How did they swap the leash? Did the holder cross or the person who would take over? The why of the continued ritual despite the visual gulf that’s grown between them is so intriguing and genuine, like the beautiful tree damaging the sidewalk with its ironically entropic growth. Very glad I read this piece.

  2. chinenye says:

    @mishelle Goodwin… Nice story u got there

  3. As I walk down this lonely street. I can see my world lonely as I am. I like the smell of the green grass as I wander recklessly walking down all of these lonely forgotten streets because here is where I walked alone when the wars were mine. Down these lonely streets. As II have been all off my lonely life and as it should always be. Lonely.

  4. Joe says:

    Fantastic story. I love the free tree with the $500 irony. -Joe

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