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Apprentice in Winter

The river sheets with ice,

metallic and silver; tints

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like the taut skins of plums

through the frozen patches.

A landscaping of trees

and river willows in their framework shapes

hold the soft-white orb of the sun,

the pale misting above water

turning sky milk-blue.

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Where fog blotted vision

and dampness held in cold,

now faint light diffuses

and spreads smoothly downstream -

turning everything fragile

then whole, as if only a cold season

is explicit enough

to move our attention

from travel

to the recurrent force

of visible breath,

the tensile clarity

underneath the abundant seasons.

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