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hymn 1

Valerie Witte

when i return broken the tree i used to before winter
climb the neighbor saw to its low branches reborn
in history stilled each visit drop you spiny spheres •

two seeds released, open stumbling brother maybe
sweetgum one sister three • furrowed ridges i wasn’t
too much trouble you said river a seedling browsed

by birds, squirrels when no one • i used to before
dying rise in glory twigs winged brown and stout
the terminal bud is large orange scales • in the living

room cards we played climbing if footholds grow
we may once gumballs prickle the ground every body
lost wearing leaves like stars

Valerie Witte

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