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Tree Struck By Lightning

ISSUE:  Summer 1994
The tiny starburst
lit fusewire
touches the trunk
and the tree turns over
dies to the last twig.

This is not a sequoia
with defense systems
for everything except
axe and saw
but a hundred-foot oak.

In mid summer
every leaf browns in weeks
against white lake water
and the green green of cypress.

The tree is unstable
at once becomes danger
to a vast circumference

and the boring begins,
silent insects, the rap-tap
of woodpeckers, backward
carpenters on a listing scaffold.
And the rain revives nothing.

In the sodden wood
of lichen and Death Caps
some weak aftermath endures
tweaks the nose like candles snuffed.


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