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What I Did During the War: Rendition

                                    Chuck Rybak


Somewhere, a family is buying a tree
that they will never see. A burlap
sack smothers the roots and a plastic sheet
blinds sun-seeking branches tossed in the back
of a truck and driven across borders
undisclosed. This tree will be thrown in a hole,
its limbs roped to stakes to preserve posture,
as planters wield cold water from the well.
They ask the tree to bloom now, with the season
of the flowering crab still months away.
They threaten it with cuttings, the family
to be planted within view. This is reason
enough not to bloom, to withhold the berry
blush from deer and birds, to not be a tree.


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