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Ann Neuser Lederer




The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. 
~Friedrich Nietzsche
Night sky's signal burnishes to golden glow, flexes
to rouged, congeals to lacquered blood, entices
to interpret everything. Signs of leaving, a spirit slowly disperses,
inspires a grateful bow to each swift wash of color, until untroubled  
darkness settles, wishing resentments would similarly flee,
as Sherman Alexie quoted Nietzsche on groups’ reactions
to discarding a tradition: it will not allow subversion,
it will find ways – casseroles and sly smiles – to preserve the norm.

After the ceremonies, oh, if he could, be scowling beneath the clouds:
what's all this fuss. He’d wanted it simple.
He’d thought it through, the papers signed, cadaver stowed
for the next batch of first-year students, then ashes to the scattering garden.

They – we – (he hadn’t known) made fancy pamphlets, sang
the songs and wept the speeches to beat away his anarchy.
We showed him ha ha ha

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The trees have been up all night,
conversing ferociously
about their middle-aged crises,
faces pulled tight
in the puff of morning.

Their vertebrae have settled a bit,
shifting in their ache as the chill lifts.

Now, the trees try staring
at the spinning sun,
hoping their skins will smooth again,
dismayed to notice a film of dust
on the holy water surface.

Some fear a chalk X on their trunks.
How can they guess their fate
from such disfigurement?

In their faded uncombed hair,
tangled from turning
long hours
this way and that, live things
have not yet awakened.

Shivering in their axons,
fingers part.

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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, Weaning the Babies and Fly Away Home.

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