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  • Your mother swore not even the cold of these
    Iowa nights would dare this time to keep you away.
    Snow drifts heave like madmen against the house;
    the wind an eerie voice to prompt nightmares.
    Relics of your holy childhood
    (rubber boots) stand in perfect step
    outside the foyer closet, waiting.

    You never really went away, Carla.
    This is what your mother and I insist
    because the truth is a kite without string
    and we need to reach out without failing.
    You remember that day after our trip to the lake
    I held your hand, the two of us framed
    in the kitchen window staring at July rain,
    vowing never to allow summer to leave us.

    The three of us. How is it delusions sustain us?
    We painted your room. Our faith demanded it.
    You are all we have left to believe in.
    Over the wires across the chasms of different
    worlds please listen for forgiveness.
    Take these words like summer drops of jade
    from your father's trembling hands.

    Through tears I trace your stumbling, the way
    you seem to dance in your clumsy snow walk
    And though it's a distance those steps you take
    towards home
    I can imagine your smile,
    the dots of snow flecking like blue fire
    in your eyes.

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