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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


by Linda Lerner

Image source: Linda Lerner

we were warned to keep away from strangers
to be suspicious of anyone not like us

people of other races and of different religions from ours
atheists and all free spirits especially artists

we were warned about sleeping in other people’s homes
eating food we weren’t familiar with

getting overexcited and too emotional about things
of danger lurking in sleep away camp and open road clubs

discouraged from swimming, bike riding getting too much sun
we were warned about touching ourselves and

of men who only wanted one thing
about drugs and sex and how “the more you get the more you want”

we were warned about many things
but nobody warned us about the trees

we played ring around the rosy under
that kept the sun from burning us

trees whose leaves dazzled us with color every autumn
infested with fungus or mold and dying of root rot

environmentalists sent out alarms with  predictions
we dismissed along with climate change as nonsense

nobody warned us that the trees would become killers
and uproot lifting up slabs of concrete from under us

break thru iron gates into homes flattening cars 
killing anyone in their way

nobody warned us…

Linda Lerner's Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (New & Selected Poems) is published by New York Quarterly Press.