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the law of the letter

this is an odd bit that i wrote a little while ago. i think i meant to add more to it, but i never got around to that and, reading it, i do think that it functions fairly well as is.

*

Funny now, I thought I heard you, heard those footsteps in the snow,
heard the light click-click of heels along the winter's last ice
that's grown slick with the inexorable thaw, the sweet retreat of the east wind,
the toothless roar of March's latest tantrum sounding out the rite of Spring for all of us
is how it's been these last weeks.
And yes, it does seem strange without you, so perhaps it was just to give myself some comfort
that I imagined I heard your spider-like steps.
Perhaps I wanted to think you'd come back to get me.
Perhaps I thought you were back, wet and frozen and angry
ember-eyes glowing like Chinese lanterns inside that bony cage of a skull;
you always needed some meat on your bones.
But that's my foolishness, finding devils in the air when I exhale
and it wasn't you come back to hunt me down, but just some dead branch
flinging itself, exhausted against the road.
It still gave me a start, alone as I was, up late as I often am.
They tell me I should take something for all these complaints I've developed, these mundane cramps
and bursts of pain that swell in every pocket and dimple from my throat to my feet.
I think it's this that makes me old.
And when I think that, I'm surprised, because it doesn't seem that long ago that I
had energy for everything, a long walk through the feral forest,
a stroll by the creek to hear the ancient footbridge sigh beneath our weight.
You gave me the vitality I needed.
Now, I'm told I need bitters for my liver, more zinc, more iron, more copper, until I think I need to start a mine to meet my needs just to stumble, bored and bitter, through another day.
But we know that's not it, you and I.
I could douse the surly flames in my gut with milk and gold, but I would not be myself again.
For that, I need you, in all your terrifying glory
rising from the dead light at the end of the dark season.
I sit and wait for that, imagining your footsteps to bolster hope.

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