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poem from January Thaw
by Bruce Guernsey


The Ritual

The first night of frost
we all have our chores,
the children in the garden
picking tomatoes
hard as apples;
in their mother's hands,
the final flowers.
I hood in plastic
what plants I can
and as the wind stills
lug in wood,
stacking oak against the dark
the clearest night of the year.

The first night of frost
we go to bed early,
the children at their prayers,
in the darkness
their soft words;
my wife in her slippers
going up the stairs.
I open the window
and smell the air,
hear as 1 hold her
in the warmth of our bed
a dog bark, far off, under the stars.


image by Victoria Woollen-Danner



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