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  • Their breath like a tree’s breath, their silence
    like a deer’s silence.
    Jean Valentine

    This summer I learned about transpiration.
    The trees puff out clouds, water
    rising invisibly from their leaves

    in transparent waves, so much water
    from a single tree, so much water
    from a tightly planted field of corn.

    A shimmering rising of exhaling trees,
    and we say: Oh my, the humidity!
    and lick the salty rain from our lips.

    The deer lie in their secret shade
    or pick their way through the woods,
    having their fill of new leaves.

    They drink in the wet breath of trees,
    they feast on cotton clouds, until dusk,
    when they suddenly appear at pond's edge.

    photo of cumulus clouds over Crater Lake from
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