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Image of fall leaves.

Solstice

 

Glacial ridge: dry grass
burns bronze at sunset

and the oaks hold their leaves late
into winter. She matches

her fingers to their lobes,
then learns to want snow

the way her heart wants silence.
Wind rattles sumac

at the thicket's edge, breaks
milkweed pods. Seed

falls like snow on snowless
earth and the voles cringe

in their burrows. She follows
the sun's slow arc west

as though she were the shadow
of a branch, leaving no prints

on wind-burnt turf as birds
leave no prints in air. Memory,

like fear, reinscribes itself,
but here, cold completes

desire, molds her heart
to the moment. Wanting snow

is one way of wanting nothing:
the silence at dusk

when the wind drops
and the owl swoops from the oaks.

 

                    "Solstice" by Vicki Graham, reprinted with author's permission, © 2001

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