You claim that despair stalks friends,
poaching in their teacups and slurring
their favorite words. The cold wind
tastes of stone. The post office
slumps on its foundations. Mail
from the last century still awaits
delivery, gummed flaps muttering.
Meanwhile the wind plunges and plunges
with the angst of dolphins hunted
to extinction. Shoppers toting bags

of primary goods recall
their childhoods in other nations,
even if born here in a welter
of sticky limbs. You want to warn them
that when the snowdrifts melt
certain clues will emerge. Maybe
diamond tiaras stolen too late
to catch the evening news. Maybe
cigar butts that crawled from Cuba
to subvert fat-headed old men

who always vote Republican.
The newly kindled sunlight fails
to deter the wind from prying
into our open pores and scalding
tears we’ve saved for our funerals.
But you laugh your rhinestone laugh
and note that wherever volcanoes
burst the earth new opportunities
follow, like many giant footprints
leading to the planet’s far edge.

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