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First Death in Winter

New snow’s made our yard a white slate,
a Winter tale written out in shorthand.

Where deft paws notarized a path to the trees
our weighted bouquet of New Year’s balloons

wind-dragged across. And here,
something stepped softly and left

no mark, no clue. I turn my attention
back to the table where you sometimes sat.

Week-old white tulips sag in the vase.
When I carry them to the sink

the spent petals fall to the floor
like an unbroken line of footsteps.

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