Near Winter

The shadow of a bird perches on the shadow of a branch stretching across my glossy oak floor. We are near December and we feel ourselves between the give and take of the season, between the wind-surge that riles the trees and the simmering of the afternoon sun. The jay's shadow-crown is ruffled. His tail pinions dip and snap back like a baton. The black staves of the shadow birch lurch, leap, and then are still. And then I see him in the center of the floor: his shadow-head like a rain cloud or a burial mound, his black pen prodding shadow-words across the oak-dark page. Observed and observer, we stare, a stand-off, as the evening settles like dust in the room. I'm waiting to see what the shadow will do. He's waiting in hopes I will make the first move.

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