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Honorable Mention: Erasure

The branch, when I
 pry it up out of the ice

on the patio because
 I mean to let it dry and

set it on fire for its
 negligible quantum of heat,

leaves a foliate negative
 that melts and fades,

the only image of itself
 it will have ever surrendered,

like leaf prints
 on a sidewalk or

indecipherable graffiti on
 the previously never-noticed walls.

Absence, being infinite, is
 what sticks, what enthralls.

The sun itself
 will have to count on

the memory of
 surviving stars when

approximately eight billion years
 from approximately now

it has its last day
 and falls into the always

night, those sister stars
 who knew their little brother

when he was obnoxiously
 hot, unmercifully bright.

Memory is what we have
 until memory fades away.



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