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  • William Iemma

Sugar Maple

Why must we pay 

for the crime of being sweet?


This I ask to you who pierces my bark,

and exposes my flesh to frigid air.

You, who siphons away my sweetest sugar,

and takes delight in boiling me down to syrup.


I can still feel it, you know—

that icy, sterile steel spout 

you’ve embedded in my heart

like a bitter, bleeding knife-blade.

You know, I’ve begun to grow around it

as if it were my own taproot.


I am scared, anxious, incapable of removing it.

What if that spile is the only thing keeping me

from bleeding out into the midwinter snow?

What if it’s the only reason you still love me at all?


But how routine, how unconscious, how repetitive

the slow, somber, sapping drip of the spigot is

as it extracts Love through my open wound into endless buckets.

So hopelessly stuck that I can hardly notice it's happening anymore.


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