In a Forest

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There is a woman in my neighborhood living in a forest. The wisteria has wound and twisted around her picket fence.  Tall weeds surround her mailbox. Tulips, irises, azaleas, camellias, ivy, buttercups, clover. They cover and crawl on her grass, through her fence, between edges and cracks, between her thighs, an island forest of weeds and leaves. Last year’s dead and rotting tomato plants marked with stakes as a grave lay under canopies of elderberry, viburnum, and dogwood, left to flower and drop their petals in remembrance of the those who have passed before them.  Black dirt as an oil well pumping life out of her ground. A freedom rising. Then. Bitter, haughty neighbors prune and mulch and weed, treading their city codes and gossip as wild brambles choking nestlings.  Her suburban forest offends their precious lawns, scared of dandelions and onion grass, that bite and swallow perfection. She’s a black forest, tangled and wide, growing and showing a woman rooted in wild freedom from their hateful glances and codes that want to wax, and prune, and tie her to a stake.  Burning bushes speaking misery to their everlasting gloom for a woman who dances naked, burning incense, in her forest under the moon.

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