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Antietam


ISSUE:  Summer 2000

The feast-huddle explodes when I approach,
a gray fox remains, whitening to bone.
The risen wait in the limbs above
for me to glance the marker, pass on.
This dawn I imagine their certain ancestors
descending the day after battle,
settling as soft and easy as ashes,
a shuddering quilt of feather and talon.

Locals swore each anniversary
those death-embracers found the way back,
gathered by some avian memory
to turn September branches black
as they hunched in rows like a regiment,
clear-eyed, voiceless, and vigilant.

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