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Ann Neuser Lederer

Bald Cypress

Without Ropes

Bald Cypress

Mistaken for dead or dying.   
At first hint of chill: brittle, orange alarm.

In a burst of turbulence, the wounded umbrella flipped.  
Skyward, then reverted, cured, surprised as Lourdes. 
Abandoned canes and crutches piled beside the marble steps. 

At the playground, while we were busy ringing giant chimes,
a silent little boy appeared.
Sat near and stared, then broke into wails.  
A siren signal: danger.
Soon his custodian snatched him away.
Diverted, and the incident forgotten. 

Do you remember the long, slow, goodbyes?   
Waving and waving until the vision dims?
How much longer before he wanders away for good?

Deciduous evergreen sprouts. Soft, gentle feathers,
hopeful, tender, pastel nursery green.
The Cypress, seemingly done for, after its long cold sleep
remembers to return.    

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Without Ropes

How the hands of some rise up up up when you touch the pulse
with just one finger: 
try it and see.

As snow disguises roads’ dividing lines and arrows with its swirls,
as sunlight under water twists rows into labyrinths,
at a pool without ropes, 
swimmers stare out at the edge,
tugging their earlobes, 
thinking through their strategies.

Covered only with sheaths, 
mingling within hairs' breaths of each other,
swimmers apologize 
for merest accidental brush of skins.

Goggled and glassy, their eyes do not meet, except for glances.

Swimmers unite! Make way without maps.
Floor plans of unity create a shifty security. 

A skein of thin silk, transparent as a spider’s,
a mandala of welcome lanes, rules to refer to, 
templates for flow
in synchronous directions, 
telltale trails of tiny bubbles furtively disintegrate.

Like ground doves bobbing imprinted motions
in private litanies of adaptation,
swimmers weave cohesions.

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Ann Neuser Lederer was born in Ohio and has also lived and worked in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kentucky as a Registered Nurse. Prior to nursing she studied art and earned degrees in Anthropology. Her poetry and nonfiction appear in online and print journals; anthologies such as Best of the Net, A Call To Nursing, Pulse, and The Country Doctor Revisited; and in her chapbooks Approaching Freeze, The Undifferentiated,and Weaning the Babies.

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