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From South Mississippi
(January 2006)

Skies are gray today, tepid 
January. Down the short hill 
where I walk every winter here 
the greenest rye grass usually grows. 
Deer who are feasting see me if I appear 
late evenings or early at sunrise. So 
today I descend, expect the same pasture 
and fish pond.

But the whole hamlet, it seems, has been recast. 
This field is now full of dead, uprooted oaks
someone burned here as trash. Stumps smoke. 
This year I find only ash and waste. Beyond, brown 
buck may hide and stare from deep 
in pines that the August storm left, 
but I cannot see them. On my trek
past dry and rotting debris 
of vines and brush piled high from Katrina, 
one crimson cardinal against all the rest -- then

that shock of pure black.

Langdon Review of the Arts / Labyrinth

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