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by Margarita Engle

Ferns and clubmosses made the world green.
Without flowering plants, the forest
had no use for pollination.
The sky was devoid of hummingbirds and bees.
Wind was the only mystery
needed for dispersal.

Millions of years later
flowers were so commonplace
that the near invisibility of fern spores
in a world of solid, hefty seeds
led men to assume that ferns
could grant invisibility
to magicians.

Now, at a roadside rest stop
watching a tiger swallowtail
on a butterfly bush, I begin to wonder
which of my own time-clad assumptions
will turn out to be simply
vision's error.

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