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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Beverly Acuff Momoi

Another story that could be true

Lightning got Joe Jackson. Construction proved fatal to Sister Marie Valerie. George Washington was felled by age, or maybe a weakness in genes. They say Martha continued on her own, but that was too long ago to know the truth.

before the naming
of the storms the naming
of the trees

There is still Archangel. Harriet B. Stowe. The sprawling Seven Sisters. The Live Oak Society is seven thousand strong. Every tree a hundred years or more. The first keeper of the lists believed the world would treasure these trees. But that was long ago.

three weeks
after the rains dry feet
and new growth

This keeper doesn't worry about water or wind or ice. Even after Katrina. Even after the snow shock of 2014. Her great-great-grandfather knew Serenity. All the parish members in Jefferson and Orleans. Who had resurrection ferns. Who did not.

The live oak is strong, she said. The elders have survived worse. We can learn from them.

the curse was not
hearing but mishearing

Note: Established in 1934 and headquartered in Louisiana, the Live Oak Society preserves and promotes the live oak tree. Its members are identified by name and location. The society includes one human, who is responsible for registering and monitoring the status of its members.