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Anne Whitney


Spring Feeding

"I woke up to a scraping noise,"
my daughter said.
Peeking out her bedroom window,
she'd seen a fat squirrel gnawing at the cow bone
I'd sunk into the garden dirt
to separate the basil from the daisies.

At Super Saver, shopping
for Daddy's birthday dinner,
my son devoured a greasy fried chicken breast,
perching the ragged bones
on the canned tomatoes in our cart.

I'd found the perfect card
advising my spouse turning 43:
"You can run but you can't hide."
He'd like to hide
when his co-workers meet to eat cake.
"All you have to do is smile,"
I said, when he opened the card,
and I pushed another piece of strawberry angel cake
upon the birthday boy.

Wood rot and carpenter ants
eat away the yellow painted pillars
on two sides of our stone house.
I've planted fern, ajuga, and heart ivy
in shade at the bottom of the yard
where the grass won't grow.
Spreading branches of the maple
have consumed the sun my garden feeds on, too.
Where petunias used to grow
I now put bleeding heart and hardy day lilies
that take life wherever they find it.


Anne Whitney is a native Nebraskan who teaches writing and literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has been published in Earth's Daughters, Forum, The Mower's Tree, and Platte Valley Review, among other publications.
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