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Neglect r t smith is the

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Neglect

R. T. Smith

Is the scent of apple boughs smoking

in the woodstove what I will remember

of the Red Delicious I brought down, ashamed

that I could not convince its limbs to render fruit?

Too much neglect will do that, skew the sap’s

passage, blacken leaves, dry the bark and heart.

I should have lopped the dead limbs early

and watched each branch with a goshawk’s eye,

patching with medicinal pitch, offering water,

compost and mulch, but I was too enchanted

by pear saplings, flowers and the pasture,

too callow to believe that death’s inevitable

for any living being unloved, untended.

What remains is this armload of applewood

now feeding the stove’s smolder. Splendor

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