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The Cold

Kenneth Sherman
From:   Clusters. Mosaic Press, 1997


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In this country
the cold drives people inside.
Their houses swallow them.
The furnace churns
and they sit in the warm belly
of the great house bear,
filled with a private odor.
When they venture out
they wear hats
or ear muffs and resemble
ridiculous animals.
They flap their arms to keep warm
like people-sized birds.

In summer they emerge
but you can see the winter
has not left them. You see it
in their faces, their movements,
in the way they greet one another,
tentatively, as if there may not be
another summer and winter will last and last
like a condition that is chronic.

But they don't walk to the clinic.
They accept it
the way their ancestors once accepted God -
without singing, without celebration

and in August, in the wilderness,
they stare in amazement
at the profusion of green
and accept the naked silence as a hymn.



Kenneth Sherman's works copyright © to the author.


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