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Deborah-Zenha Adams

Deborah-Zenha Adams is an award-winning author of novels, short fiction, CNF, and poetry. She is also a certified naturalist and a yoga educator. You can learn more about her work and her wandering at


We burn dead wood first, of course,
but the hackberry over there is crowding
out two cherries and has to go. It’s been like that
all winter—sacrificing
things we’d rather not, learning the art
of trade-off. Trees are warmth.

Ankle deep in leaves and limbs blown down
by summer’s final storm, my man
considers options. It’s how the trees
are spaced that matters, and how the fall
of one affects the others.

Slamming hammer into wedge, he cracks
the trunk with strength of arms
that comes from living by the hard
clean rules of nature.

The world belongs to men who fell trees,
who raise axes overhead and clear
a path straight to the heart of the forest.
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