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As the Cold Deepens

ISSUE:  Spring 1995
She is eighty-six
and her friends are dying.
“They’re dropping like flies,” she grumbles
and I see black winged bodies crumbling
on window sills when we open our summer house.

Flies all over!
Brushing them onto the floor, sweeping
them up, we drop black mounds into the bag.
“What a mess!” my mother declares.

I think of flies
how they live in a weightless armor
tough, resistant like a finger nail.

My mother is almost weightless now,
her flesh shrinks back toward bone.
Braced in her metal walker
she haunts the halls, prowls
the margin of her day, indomitable
erect in this support
that fuses steel with self.

At noon the flies mass on the sills
flying up and down the pane
pressing for sun.
What bussing agitates the air
as the swarm becomes a single drive
a scramble up, a dizzy spin.

It is hard to hold the light
which grows weaker every day.
The temperature is falling
The glass is cold.


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