THE POND froze over last night, black pane frosted, framed by a stubble of cattail and brush. A blackbird sways on a stalk of swamp weed, the red and yellow patch on his shoulder his rank, little corporal. Geese fly overhead, big V honking south. Jesse and I bring the old skiff back to the barn. She wants to buy some red paint, give the boat a facelift. I say why spend the money, we’ve got grey paint right here.

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