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Outlook: late February

The horizon settles in a dusty shade of summer peaches. Watching for you, I think of the Red Haven tree you grafted, split by its burden of fruit last summer; the sticky sweet globes we halved and bottled night after night in August heat. The deformed tree seems to tilt, silvery-barked; pruned ends are slant ochre slices in the dusk. The house darkens as I wait, windows hold a faint plum luster. A streetlamp comes out like a bright planet. For this one more hour alone, I leave the drapes to soft-frame the night. The mantel clock ticks off small wood shavings falling separate and soft on the darkness. I do not move toward a lamp until your car lights slide across the wall and turn the corner of the room.