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Phonics of Trees

She wants to learn to speak tree.
Come trees, she says

Ear cupped on rough bark acer saccharum,
hand smooths grey skin fagus americana,
green feathered fragrance thuja occidentalia
strokes cheeks, ascends nostrils
her open mouth whispers

Picks three smooth red haws crataegus, booted feet
scatter quercus rubra school-capped acorns, crumbles
one yellowed leaf, populus tremuloides
shaped like a heart, into the chill

of an ungloved hand. Floating above
the murmuring trees, long baritone chants
of migrating wild geese descend to shiver
her nape, tangling through wind-lifted hair

how to fall,
when to go

She spells out their sounds, phonics of trees
wants to remember, to write it all down
Meanwhile, the trees

carry on.
Orbis International Literary Journal #196, Summer 2021
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Phonics of Trees.jpeg
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