January

Beyond the river a train blows for a crossing. Cold channels the sound like a conduit. We're far from summer and the mockingbird's suicidal dives - wings wide like French Spad's - on a neighbor's yellow dog and sparrows stuffing grass in the martin house as martins watch. Trees are bare now: somewhere south the mockingbird waits, wings tucked as though through a brooding night. The sun drifts, a white disk behind translucent clouds. It may snow; the sun may burn off the haze, but green fronds have shrunk. The air is whetted, still; yet across the river the sound is restless, driving - the muted pounding of a train.

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