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All spring she brushed aside my arguments
that it was cheaper and would make more sense
to fill the yard with hardy Yankee stock.
She bought her maple, junked the chain-link fence,
and tried to start a lawn; our crabby flock
of grackles grew too fat on seed to quarrel.
While masons tamed the mud with slate and rock,
she planted birches, hollies and a laurel.
New pickets kept our neighbors in their place.

October stripped the birches down to bone,
as if to warn the weak. Beside new stone
the pygmy flared with plum and amber lace.
As ice was making oaks bow, crack and groan,
her vision shimmered with a stubborn grace.

A.M. Juster