It starts over again, 
the year's dress rehearsals 
for departure: chorus 
of the southward-heading, 
light lowering its curtains 
to the coal train's distant 
signal. The only vine left 
clinging to the fence is bitter: 
the small yellow flowers heroic 
punctuation, until their mouths 
are too cold to sing any more 
protest. In the woods, 
we begin to see the cross-
hatched branches: a texture
scored across emptying 
fields. Along the path
by the river, schoolchildren
used to lean over the rail,
tossing a dry confetti of bread.
Before we thought the world 
had stopped completely, 
we'd walk taking in sharp 
draughts of air, the cold 
purling out as we breathed.  

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