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September Light

They say it's enchanted country here at the edge of town, where gates open to a spill of wild apple orchards, and my window frames the thick rush of asters toward the stone fence. The glass mutes the toll of evening church bells. I push back the curtains, letting in September light that lies in long shafts on the air. My daughters will be home soon, laughing down the road they call the dragon's tail, following its loops and tree-cut curves. The faint mutter of leaf smoke clings to the tall grass, and I think the dragon must be breathing easily over his hoard of soft-gold hours, those last nuggets pirated from summer's pocket. The children come, hands full of buckeyes, gathered good fortune to string, to drop like small dark stars, their pale thumbprint songs buttoned firmly against mahogany coats. The girls stream through the dusk, down the walk, secure in their make-believe realities, homeward bound on the tail of a dragon.

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