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The Fire Inside Us
J. T. Ledbetter  (bio)

                Tonight a mist hangs on the wilted flowers in the iron ground
                and cold birds twitch on wires running over the frozen fields.
                There is no way to tell you that winter will last a few months,
                and then thaw, or that these hopping birds, like clots of coal
                against the snow, will nest tonight in the barn, warm with straw
                and the sweet breath of cows.
               

                Windows close with my breath as I go from room to room,
                watching the lane, listening to the silver wires thrumming along
                the curving banks of snow where foxes snuffle and burrow
                in their winter sleep. These are the things we loved together,
                naming the animals, watching the pond freeze over, the last geese
                rising into their winter flyways—are the things I thought
                would hold you, that and our love and the fire inside us.
               

                I will take my bath and stand naked against the cold window until
                you call me to bed where we will move against each other, feeling
                the length of our bodies as we talk of the day and the farm
                before we grow quiet, listening to the leaves brushing the window
                and the sudden bark of the fox in Turley’s Woods,—until we sleep,
                that long winter sleep, breathing the fire inside us.

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