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POEMS By Margie McCreless Roe THE TREE AT OUR NEW HOUSE It is only a small slip of a tree, Barely taller than a woman seeking to know it. It bends in the early summer breeze Like a single plume in our pin-cushion lawn. It is all future. But a sparrow, tree-busy, accepts it And settles onto a thin branch without hesitation, Pronouncing the blessing I was trying to form. MARCH FIRES In March my father would go to the lake Lighting fires in the spring-cold woods And I was sent along to help. They were small fires, like votive lights, Smoke rising thin in the leafless trees. They burned the cactus and fallen limbs, Dry grass and briars we brought As we cleared old growth from the ground. My father moved steadily, silently, Absorbed in his purge. But I sometimes would stop and watch The year’s burning. Sometimes his shout through the quiet air Would startle me back to the harvest of brush And I’d try to do as he did But I couldn’t see what he had in mind What he was working toward or against. It was the fires that had something to say to me And their smoke lingers still Through time, dark and branching. WE MOVE LIKE ROACHES Increasingly We move through life Like roaches through rare books. We miss the meanings of this world. We forage on the glue That keeps the. bindings bound. And all the while We know there must be something written here If only the poor, greedy threads We twitch in front of us Could sense something, Something more than ink and dust. IN OUR TWENTIETH YEAR How can we in our twentieth year Go out among the dying mariages And return at night unwounded To this same bed? How can we, through the spasms of these years, Still feed each other Flavor upon familiar plates? Or keep this one body, growing softer, Going the way we want to go? This yoke shifts upon our shoulders But so far, In this our twentieth year, Does not rub to rawness Or from this wonder slip away. Margie M. Roe, a native of Fort Worth, works in the Trinity University library in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Cedar Rock and The Pawn Review. 22 NOVEMBER 8, 1985