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The rag-trimmed tree confounds me,
Leafy with crosses and beads:
Not a merry December fir; grim in June to see.

The punctured sock near the arm of a toddler’s tee
Is saying—who knows what? Laundry magic misleads.
The rag-trimmed tree confounds me.

A dingy gown aging down dissolves in a mildew sea.
Ensconced in bark, sundry saints pose to intercede—
Not a merry December fir; distressing in June to see.

A cane, placed by the hand of love’s legacy,
Fractures amid the fraying tweeds.
The rag-trimmed tree confounds me.

Yet in this scene an enchanted sympathy
Reveals a tome: an ancient Book of Moling to read,
Not a merry December fir; dreadful in June to see

A hawthorn weep with kindred energy,
When the statue of…Jude? starts to plead—
Less sentimental than a fir, it is, and melancholy to see
How the rag-trimmed tree confounded me.



Margaret Ann Wadleigh is a former public-school teacher from Norman, Oklahoma. This is her first poem published in the US. Previous poems have appeared in Shearsman in the UK.



Image credit: Ethan Doyle White




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