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The Citrus Leaf Tree by Gretchen Gales | poetry |#thesideshow

April 1, 2017
That’s an Atavism and other poems by Heikki Huotari | #thesideshow
April 1, 2017
Veggie Burger and 2 other poems by Nooks Krannie | #thesideshow
April 1, 2017

The Citrus Leaf Tree



It was a tree that

sprouted strange leaves, curious

aromas of oranges

adjacent to the playground.

Kicking up gravel, we would

dash past the slide and the monkey bars,

rocks becoming lodged in our sneakers.

We’d scale the relatively

small tree to harvest only the greenest and

brightest leaves, our citrusy

shoes scratching against shedding

bark, nails gathering

dirt, hands outstretched towards

our chosen leaf.

We’d use wild onion grass

to tie the bouquets together,

giving them to our teacher.

We would store the best leaves


The next day they would be

shriveled, no longer smelling

like citrus fruit. They had

fallen victim to the civilization

of worms that

we blamed for eating the leaves,

spoiling everything for everyone.


Gretchen Gales is managing editor and a staff writer for Quail Bell Magazine. She was recently honored in Her Campus’ “How She Got There” segment. Her work has also appeared in The Establishment, The Huffington Post, Bustle, Yes Poetry, Yellow Chair Review, and more.