(13 January 1957 / Chatham, Virginia)


The town's trees, roomy with winter, have begun
of late to fill with them, a settling
that commences with dusk. The widows complain —

claim they can smell them, can hear them shuffling
in the trees, a wing hitting a branch a sound
sharp, they say, as ice cracking. They cannot

sleep. And so you form a committee, convening
with shotguns to fire every night into the darkling

congregation. Every night, the air resounds
with that resolve, and every dusk they return
with theirs, circle, a lazy familiar vortex

around a drain, an old appointment they keep
with an inescapable place; this argument
no way, Claude says, to be any less afraid.

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