Leaves freeze and fall from the limbs that spawned and fed their veins. They are blown by gusts of winter winds, the culprit who makes children’s cheeks turn from peach to apple. I sit by this hollow glass lamp filled with shark teeth combed off beaches of bygone summers. It’s 60 watt, disposable illuminance, must be scalding to the touch. Diffused light softens through the wizard’s glass, a shade, the spaces between my fingers whose hand is resting upon my brow and lands in slices on the coarse pages of ink with whom my eyes are infatuated. When my weighted eyelids dip too low, they snap back open as if they are the world map that hung above the blackboard in grammar school – unrolled it proclaimed the existence of the USSR – the spring prone to release on its own volition popping all pupils to full attention.

As I would have volunteered to rise from that pale, yellow desk to clap erasers behind the brick wall I stand from this all-too-comfortable sofa and stand in front of the bay windows. A lonely tree holds its ground in the yard as one season stiffens to the next. The mud from last night’s rain forms into a hard cookies of solid dirt, waiting for feet to tread so it can dispense its crumbs. The air is dry and reaches harshly through my nostrils as if I am in standing in the cloud of chalk dust behind the brick wall. Again my gaze finds the tree, its talon roots gripping the frozen ground, prepared to hunker down for the next three months.

I, too, am ready. The book on the end table, a spare light bulb in the cabinet, a shelf of unread pages, a fire beneath the hearth and stacks of wood under the pine tree.


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