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Heat Goes Out Walking in the Cold

It seems possible, and I've been told,
that even the dying, who don't mean to,
stow at the ribs yellow mint,
at the liver the waft
of split tomatoes, and April's peas
wire and tendril up, unruly,
at the backs of the eyes.

The old story: Decembers,
fiddleheads unwind
in a cat's worn foot pads—
and far in a man's deaf ear
tug the brown wade
and gold peeping
of May ponds.

Hard to believe, most days,
that under the ice-tilted walks,
plantain aches yellowly, hums
in August air. Or that even
in the spine of a mother
who grieves for her child
wakes dame's rocket, unwilled,
gangly, soon
a sapling with the tough ears
of elephants.
That's the sapling the dead
blaze into, summer walking in winter.
Yes. In wind-wracked limbs,
green wick, thaw the core.

K. A. Hays

Tin House

Volume 16, Number 2 2014

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