Jeanne-Marie Osterman

They’re   still   there
lining   the   walk   I
crawled    fifty     yrs
ago  a   girl  in  blue
overalls digging for

worms       catching
beetles    in    mayo
jars      salting     the
occasional        slug
watching     it    curl

to  a   slow    death
learning     how    it
felt    to    be   cruel.
They’re  still  there
the gnarled brown

limbs  twisting  up
from     the    earth:
arthritic     carnival
dancers     in    lush
green    hats.    The

peppery         scent
taught   me  I   had
senses,   the   con-
stant          pruning
what life  requires.