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The January Thaw


It's promising the way 

this damp night air

has come about.

In the darkness


a Striped Skunk

has prowled in the mist,

become startled,

and released his

unmistakable oily scent.

It is not entirely


from a distance,

lingering on

the bottom of the wind,

a reminder that

the skunk and I

are in company,

sensing spring,

waking up and


on this unseasonable evening.

For him, this cycle

is normal,

and he accepts

the January thaw

with the experience

of one who lives

in seasons.

But for me, living in

what has seemed

years of winter,

I am easily persuaded

that this is

a prediction of some

better future,

and I am out

in the dark

because of it.

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