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ISSUE:  Spring 1985
Cherry, I said to myself, trying too hard
to experience that tree
above the auction crowd.

Its lowest limbs had been picked clean,
but ripe fruit bobbed above us
in leaf-shifting wind

as the tree resisted the human,
our money worries,
the generations-deep possessions

now being cashed in
to settle someone’s dying.
Cherry. . . . But tonight,

as I somehow knew I would,
I’ve descended steps
beneath matted grass

under the tree. Above me,
it speaks its own syllables,
black-winking cherries

that echo the starry sky.
Here, root-hairs shine
along tunnels,

and in this last room
a color appears, black-red,
shaped into one word.


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