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all is quiet in this frostbiten night,
air shattering still before storm,
like soldiers standing at attention, lacking movement
like plastic ballerinas, dancing
on a mirrored bowl, the one
my mother never wound up.
there is something I want to say,
I'm certain, I had the thought,
before my lover turned out the lights

there was an abundance of care,
flowers hung in proving baskets,
woven metal loosened ferns from the ceiling,
and it was normal to think the dead flowers
and leaves picked helped,
as children on proving grounds,
tether on blacktop play grounds
falling playing kickball games waiting
to be chosen second last.

there's a tradition to this
picking first, leaving last,
a discipline I never learned.