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My stone hutch perches on a blue height.
It is winter, well into the wee hours.
Sleepless, I stand in the back doorway overlooking the courtyard.
The moss between the bricks is spongy from the snow.
Beyond the courtyard, the trees are a remorseless black brocade,
widow's weeds.
I wonder what the weather will be the hour of my death.
I venture into the woods and lean against a knot of birches.
Thought disperses, like clouds.
It occurs to me that clouds never have a place to sit still, to settle.
In my memory rise apparitions of go-downs and food stalls in Asia;
I have hunger pangs and other lusts.
The bone chill subverts them.
The dead are not finished with us at the moment of their deaths.
They stay with us the rest of our days.
I notice the snow is blue in the moonlight and stone cold.

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Paul Mann

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