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January 10, 2023


There is a tree that stands alone

At the edge of a hidden lake.

Her branches spread like wings that long to soar

But she is resigned 

To providing shelter

And shade

And cover for those who rip at her flesh

With pocket knives

Believing that there’s no harm

In inscribing their names

Onto her exterior

Where they’re sure

The damage is only superficial

Never realizing

How deep the cuts actually go.


And when the sun hangs low in the sky

Young lovers suddenly burst onto the pastoral scene

Ablaze with passion

Soon entwined as one

Pushing against her trunk

As they drink each other in

Desperate for relief

From the constant thirst

Of their parched lives.

After, they race to the lake

To receive absolution

As they trip over the gnarled roots

Criss-crossing the ground.


And they jump in, holding hands

As their sins are washed away

But they’re oblivious to the slivers of wood bobbing gently on the glistening surface

That have been shed like tears by the tree 

Over time.

Because she knows there will never be a way

For her to fly

But instead, she will always be a vessel

For those who can.


© the author

by Nancy Machlis Rechtman

Nancy Machlis Rechtman has had poetry and short stories published in Your Daily Poem, The Whisky Blot, Grande Dame, Impspired, Trouvaille Review, Fresh Words, The Writing Disorder, Discretionary Love, and more. She wrote freelance Lifestyle stories for a local newspaper, and she was the copy editor for another paper. She writes a blog called Inanities at

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