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77 PLANT POLYGRAPH As if to expose them for the imposters that they are we attached crude instruments to their roots & stems & scrutinized each response to stimuli & whether we were determined to strike a match to singe their leaves or were only just pretending they were able to discern our intent & if we sang or played sweet songs they shared this pleasure eagerly with the others locked away in nearby rooms. We’d learned to speak to them in tenderness though they make no effort even to unfold a solitary petal in reply. But perhaps there are strange signals smuggled aboard each oxidized vessel voyaging invisibly to our bloodstream so that if there were something they wished for us to know we would know it, suddenly, & with a green clarity quickened by the sun. We believe in the sentient garden & that the rate at which water rises from the roots of the philodendron up through the stem to the tip of each perceptive leaf is electric though none of this would hold up in a court of law. J. BRAXTON COOPER ...


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