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Wednesday, September 30, 2020


by Vera Kewes Salter

The praying mantis turns its head 
to destroy soft-bodied insects 
with its armored limbs


and giant ants use their  

mandibles to sever 

the mantis' narrow neck.


We sawed the limb 

of the flowering cherry to protect 

ourselves before the storm.


Now the wounded branch seeps

amber onto the blond wood

and green shoots grow.


There is a walnut tree that casts an even

shade and bears heavy lime-green fruit

but excretes toxic juglone that poisons 


all growth on the ground 

around and causes a permanent 

blight even after it is felled..


Will our wounds 

succumb to poison

or can green shoots grow?

Vera Kewes Salter lives and writes in New Rochelle New York.