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This morning I watched my neighbors

departing for work. Starlings

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snatch red stars from the dogwood tree.

At dusk they return, compacts and minivans

up and down the block, toting

tool kits, briefcases, children, groceries.

All day, I haven't strayed

ten yards from this birch wood desk

red stars, yellow beaks,

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trying to true the mind's wavering,

prodding and pruning with my pen,

hoping to soothe six brief blue lines

of poetry, to get them to breathe.