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A Season to Remember

Leaving Early: From a Small Town

Light turns the dark quilt-tops of houses

into roofs, and you drive not thinking

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the familiar highway and street names,

wondering how the city will seem: you

both conspicuous and unnoticed,

a stranger unrecognized even as that.

You stop in the mile-high air

on Main Street: on the hill, the white-washed

emblem of the high school, still in shadow.

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Soon children will come from the houses and be grown -

unknown to you as any city stranger.

Winter will close in early

and the air stay thin, the passes open,

perilous. Pasture fences will mend

and go ragged again, new couples trying

to remain in the valley,

to make the crops of one short season

be enough.

If you wait until the post office opens,

faces will pass and go in, assuming you will be here

as they leave. Everyone you will ever know

will say your name.