In February the light drifts weakly across the room.
The Lenten sun reads its cards and folds; the pot
is taken in the afternoon but no one deals again.
The crows discuss the news: “Cat at three o’clock,
some likely protein in a neighbor’s yard, the dark
is coming, eat.” It’s been a temperate winter
but tonight the wind is rising and it may snow.

You’ve given me up: that much I understand.
But I hadn’t counted on that—quite the opposite,
in fact. Love is a landscape and I’d planned
a house or two—call it a compound. (Call it
the city of the damned for all I care. What
do I do with the lumber, the window glass,
the paving stones, the path down to the lake?)

Tonight I heard music playing in your room.
Is your soul lighter now that you’ve shed me?
I didn’t mean to weight it down. For my part,
lightness was the center of it all. I would walk
stealthily through the winter forest like some
old Indian, silent on the leaves as if I knew
the meaning of the world, and it was you.

Lawrence Paulson is a writer of poetry and fiction in Hyattsville, Maryland. His poetry has been published in Southern Voices and received an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition. He has been a journalist, a trade association executive, and the unsuccessful owner of a yarn store.

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