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THE LONELINESS OF INANIMATE OBJECTS
# — Danby Four-Corners, Vermont

Two hundred miles away
and aimed toward dead of winter,
I think of what I left
at my brother's summer house . . .
where now, I imagine,
my sweater is beginning to conform
to the back of a chair and the pale light,
getting its proper slant on things, leans
through a fractured hexagon of glass
(turned chalky by years of moonlight,
dust and spiderwork)
and pushes the shadow of a walking-stick
across the floor, across my brother's pitcher's mitt,
making a sundial.

Those things we left behind
measure their pottage of darkness
and light, then try on shadows
in a kind of fashion show —
first this side then that — and thus
they make it through a winter's day
without our help, but bearing up as emblems
of our loneliness — even as barn cats seem to do:
detached, alone, and nonchalant.



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