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  • I read the promise of summer,
    written in ash on a gull's temple,
    barely an ash-Wednesday smudge
    heralding the Lord's resurrection.

    Scavenging snails and crust
    from ice flow to frozen bank
    or in an aerial frenzy buffeted
    by the same grasping winds
    that vex Dido in her eternal abode
    Twenty or more laughing gulls
    ride the vortex of winter out of hell
    and cower in the city in its cold warmth.

    Oh Poet, I began, this unlit winter
    feels closer to the End than last.

    But, Friend, the alders resurge
    in the city's unpruned chinks
    and the white caps of the gulls
    bleed to black feather by feather
    scoring the year's days in carbon
    across a fluttering firmament,
    and are not the End, but are rather
    —unlike the vulgar rainbow's proof
    of a miserable day's remorse—
    hallmarks of an eternal puberty
    implicit in every new year.
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