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Ann Neuser Lederer

Alarm of Buds

Barrier Breaths

Holding It In

Alarm of Buds

Languish this process:
A plasticized heart, once ripe, ripped out.

The transplant effort, imagined, stalls.
A stitch of tangled tips escapes.

Boiled, transparent noodles squirm from pursuing needles. 
The accurate, delicate matchup of invisible nerves.

Shreds of dyed vessels, coded blue or red, dangle for inspection.
Tight round nubs form on the Dogwood tips, readying to burst.

Here is the nest of roots in mossy water, waiting.
Here the moist hole, clotted and prepared with proper mixtures.

Blooms, improbably early,
form a memory of floodings, reluctance of dismays.

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Barrier Breaths

A night too bright in its mercury light: a drone
of neon-swathed humanoids slides back and forth in the fog.

A lone orange cat, eyes yellow in the headlights,
glared on its haunches, steadfast. Just as quickly disappeared.

Sweet, chemical mists arise from creekbed drift and silt.
Feathery curve of jet tail arcs above, long after boom.

Even a small defender deters.
A smear of invisible gel until it dries will kill almost everything.

Gnats cling to flimsy screens from the outside,
pricks of light in the moon museum's fake infinity room.

Strips of flannel binding calm a restless child.
Until a sheet drifts downward, sleep refuses to alight.

Semi-impermeable barriers breathe.
Oxygen vapors in, water vapors out.

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Holding It In

In a dim small alley, through
a back door crack,
just a peek:

A row of plucked ducks dangles,
naked, size of toddlers, pink.
Still with their beaks.

Old Brother misses his sister,
captured at age 13, 70 yrs ago.
He briefly dares to view
her tinted, smiling face,
holds back his tears -- just barely.

When labor arrives in the darkest night,
its siren screech –
what would you do?

Call the ER around the corner to ready the gurney.
Clutch the building's corner till the cramp subsides.
Holler here I am as you round the block.
If in a different country, study ahead
essential phrases, or carry a pre-written note.

Old Brother, trying so hard to fake it:
ceiling fan runs in reverse:
buck up
hole up
Won't let the water break.

The ceiling might cave in, dumping
duck corpses into a clump.
partita partita single string song.

Outdoors a chorus of tree frogs
times the cramps, making a plan,
teaching the word for help, for her sake.

Old Brother vowed to make a happy family.
He waits for the bombshell,
tends to details anyway,
stacks the cans
knee-high in the basement.

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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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