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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 127 words
By Victoria Garton

Oran’s Box Elder

Cut branches with leaves curled inward 
circle the massive trunk, litter the yard. 

Pruning was to make the tree lighter, 
and it appears so from the road. 

Up close, with every remaining leaf 
the box elder points to the wreckage. 

Years ago, Oran gave her this tree as a sprout. 
One like it in childhood’s yard attracted bugs. 

Red pin-striping on their backs, they paraded 
down bark like invaders in tuxedos. 

Their sprawling legs gave her the creeps and 
taught her one second at a time to be brave, 

to not risk their pungent odor that smelled of fear. 
One night they vanished like Cinderella at the ball. 

From this massive trunk a spindly branch rises 
dying for bugs to dance at its wake. 

Victoria Garton
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is the author of Venice Comes Clean (Flying Ketchup Press, 2023), Pout of Tangerine Tango (Finishing Line Press, 2022), and Kisses in the Raw Night (BkMk Press, 1989). Recent poetry acceptances have come from Clarion; Cosmic Daffodil Journal; The Ekphrastic Review; I-70 Review; The Penwood Review; Pleiades; Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, volume 12 (Honorable Mention); Sangam Literary Magazine; The Seraphic Review; Sparks of Calliope; Vital Minutiae Quarterly; WayWords Literary Journal; and Wasteland Review.

Bright Flash Literary Review published her flash fiction Young Poet at Workshop (5 December 2023).

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