Lashon Hara (the Hebrew term for defamatory speech or gossip)*
They stood under the southern live oak,
Who had heard every story told under her canopy of branches with leaves,
Living amongst these exterior walls for more than forty years.
Three angry women from various lives
Who daily congregate in the shade of the oak
To pick apart strangers as sporting game.
Without comprehending other’s lives or their own.
More than fifty years have vanished,
There they are, as if in a high school bathroom
Openly denying access
To those that are not members of the “in crowd.”
I stare at my wise beloved oak
That makes the world right, answering a multitude of questions.
The lowest branch holding a fledgling cooper hawk
Tearing apart its recently caught prey.
I smile and keep walking with my lesson for the day.
Nature is so truthful, so honest it hurts
Watching a species rip apart another for the hunger of survival
Unlike humans who rip each other apart for nothing more than sport.
*the halakhic term for derogatory speech (true speech for a wrongful purpose i.e. gossip)
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