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By the Fire 

On a braided rug, twisted greens
and burgundy, my two cats curl
into each other. They are
a single nautilus, the fossil
of this poem.

Outside, the scarred mountain blinks
its many red eyes, metal towers littering
its ridges, the morning waiting
dark and patient as a lake
full of caiman.

The woodstove flashes
wild with fire, the temporary fervor
of purpose. Logs of oak, limbs
of old apple tree behind
the sooty glass

break into flaming rabbits, deer, fox,
faces lit, bodies bright. If you
are very quiet, you can hear
their lisping cries
as they leap into ash.

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