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The Maple Remains

ISSUE:  Winter 2006

Vicksburg, Mississippi
May 16, 1919

For the general good
Such, even the smell
Is customary; like figs
Gray and gamy, rotting
Among the orchard mulch.

And an old woman
Remembers her children
As little monkeys for its branches,
Their hinged arms and legs are
Indistinguishable at dusk.

She remembers the clearing
When she and her husband
First arrived in Vicksburg;
How Charles leaned against
The trunk, his face washed
With shadow and smoke;

How he looked at the land
The crest and its antiseptic
Slopes and said, “This is home.”

The old woman remembers
And pleads for its felling
And a young man gazing
Among the throngs responds:

“What was done here
Last night, was done
For you and for every
Woman and for every
Girl in Warren County.”


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