Excerpt from Backyard Divination by Tom Plante

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The following poem appears in our Fall/Winter 2018 issue. The single issue is available for purchase in print or digital format.

Oak saplings cut last fall
when I trimmed the hedges
lay scattered where I left them.
Stripped of leaves, the sticks

are good for kindling and useful
as tomato plant stakes
in this summer’s garden.
Their random pattern recalls

the yarrow stalks of the I Ching,
a practice I tried to understand
but abandoned when I was young.
These dry sticks are rearranged

by squirrels and sparrows that
come to feed. The north wind
bites the saplings’ bark
and scatters ancient clues.

TOM PLANTE was born in New York City. He studied Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for several newspapers, including The Berkeley Barb, The Irish Echo, and The Courier News. Tom published Berkeley Works magazine (1981-85) and has published the poetry journal Exit 13 Magazine since 1988. His recent collection of poems is Atlas Apothecary (Finishing Line, 2016). Tom lives in Fanwood, New Jersey, with his wife and daughter.

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