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If the only woods you've wandered
proceed, stately,
through growing, greening, shedding, slumber—
four steady seasons—
you might never fathom
cedars with their knees in the water,
cacti and hot sand,
all the other sharp
and tangled ways to flower.

I learned late about
sand pines and palmetto— not soft plants,
not pliant— but glossy and tipped
with needles.
That's my ecosystem:
fire cycles
and ungovernable soil;
I only grow in bursts
of green or burning.

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