Rocky Mountains

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A Work of Artifice

Marge Piercy


The bonsai tree

in the attractive pot

could have grown eighty feet tall

on the side of a mountain

till split by lightning.

But a gardener

carefully pruned it.

It is nine inches high.

Every day as he

whittles back the branches

the gardener croons,

It is your nature

to be small and cozy,

domestic and weak;

how lucky, little tree,

to have a pot to grow in.

With living creatures

one must begin very early

to dwarf their growth:

the bound feet,

the crippled brain,

the hair in curlers,

the hands you

love to touch.


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