First Day

Damp ground, a scattering of dry
needles like careless writing.

Weather warnings mention snow
but only as hint, only as faint

possibility: a system moving out
farther north, banking around

this place once called the old
dominion. Nearby, broken seashells 

line a road named quaranta, quarantine:   
marking where the sick were kept

indoors forty days and nights during 
an 1855 epidemic of yellow fever. Count

yourself among the lucky if tonight you
can go to sleep, face turned to morning.

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