Geraldine’s Mantra

by Lisa Tellor-Kelley

The devil made them
do it. He whispered in their young ears
to cheer and laugh, happily as the three
privileged white boys stripped
a newly planted Sweet Maple tree
of its branches. The devil made them

do it. Boys shouted as each branch bent
and fresh bark peeled from
the narrow trunk. She was ruined,
and boys laughed. The devil made him

do it. A buck-tooth, blonde boy shouted
as Sweet Maple attempted to stand proud
against the strain. She was sprained, dislocated;
her stripped branches lay curled
and scattered on November’s dead
grass. The devil made them

do it. It was murderous,
fun filled destruction,
and it was usually executed
by the the local squirrels. Girls know

many boys play rough, and girls mature
into women who bend and dance
on the southern winds, bringing beauty
to rain and thunder.