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The Bird Thicket
by ellen

I see my craving in the empty cherry tree.
I bought him sweet cherries
slipped folded bills into his hand
sent him delicate gifts.
He never saw me with his hungry eyes
and sad, like hawthorn and mountain ash.

On this autumn day
a turning sumac reminds me
of his pale skin and cigarettes.
He mailed me a poem.
It smelled of his tobacco smoke
I hurried it back inside the envelope
to preserve a bit of him.

Twilight and autumn, this bright darkness
a trampled rose with its skin-tearing thorns.
Purple finches fly from the pepper-bush.
Hidden in the thicket
a homeless woman has a sumptuous array
of scavenged food left by picnickers.
The beauty of that pock marked face
the over-large pores
her independence.


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