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Betsy Martin


Girl Under an Apple Tree by Edvard Munch

Barefoot, Lena leads me
along rows of lettuce, squash,
and broccoli. The brim
of her Western hat is jauntily cocked,
her forearms browned, peeling
from hours of sun.

She probes the loam,
hoping to find herself in the roots
of plants, so simply anchored.

Prevailing winds have scattered the seed.

When we come to the kale,
she plucks for me a bunch, and holds it lithely
as a dancer would a bouquet of flowers,

the curly green plumes
flowing up and out from her hands,
she rising from the earth,
from the seed of herself,
a goddess of kale,
of chlorophyll
and light.


About the writer:
Betsy Martin’s chapbook Whale’s Eye was published by Presa Press in June 2019. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, The Briar Cliff Review, California Quarterly, Cloudbank, Diverse Voices Quarterly (Best of the Net nomination), Dunes Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Juked, Louisville Review, The MacGuffin, Midwest Quarterly, MORIA, Pennsylvania English, The Round, THINK, Wrath-Bearing Tree (Pushcart nomination), and many others. She worked for many years at Skinner House Books in Boston. She has advanced degrees in Russian language and literature and lived in Moscow studying at the Pushkin Institute during the exciting transitional period of Glasnost.

Image: Girl Under an Apple Tree by Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Oil on canvas. 43.5 x 39.6 inches. 1904. Public domain.

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