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the female plays house    between

the bark & the sapwood    she is

hard-wired for love    in the phloem

her scent on the walls    she rubs

her Avon wrists together    & waits

the male finds her intoxicated    they

make love    under the trees    legs be-

come arms    hands grow fingers    nails

scratch    tiny love notes    in the bark

summer is short here    little time

for courtship in the North:    the cold-

blooded retreat to the woods    veins

pumped with antifreeze    the female

bores deeper    into the sapwood    she

drags her smokes    & her big belly    up

the tree    carves her birthing chamber

and her coffin with her teeth

Mountain Pine Beetle Suite - II. summer: mating season

Chantal Gibson

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