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The Act

Third-Place Winner – 2018 Poetry Contest

There was a boy who was not yet a man who spent a summer grafting
buds onto peach branches. It was hot; it was the bay shore of
Maryland and 1974. He carried a small knife and used it with his
hands, used it to open with his hands. With each slit on the already-
tree he opened a small window and took out the bud, all reaching and
green. And with each slit on the bare tree he opened a window, the
church window, and sealed it with the bud. The colors in the panes
filled in. It was perfect except for the tape, which wound around the
bare branch, the already-bud, and joined them like a law. Slowly they
began to hold, and later began to grow. The trees became a world of
growing, of knowing there would be fruit to eat. Sometime soon. And
the pay was not good but the peaches were. And he worked, and he
worked, and he made it work.

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Contributors

Justine Jones is the third-place winner of the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2018 Poetry Contest. Jones holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She works at Madison East High School, and is pursuing a career as an educator and a writer.

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