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Late February Fire Town on the River Plateau

This far north, the low February sun

smolders through a haze like October,

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the dusty shade of peaches.

Without snow, stubble fields across the river

look toasted ripe as wheat in this light,

the flat waters of the Columbia bronzed molten,

Canadian geese that stayed the winter

throwing the thickness of their voices

back and forth among reeds.

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In the long slant of sun at dawn and dusk,

bare trees light up

along streets in a hazy reverie of flame:

pedestrians along cold walkways linger

as though held within the barefoot warmth

of hearths.