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Wisconsin Drenched in Winter Quietude
by Mary Jo Balistreri

Late in the day, early December, a sheen of luminosity
like the varnish on a Dutch landscape, offers silver instead of gold.
The sun, turned cold, replaces autumn's honey-thick amber
with a pearl large and lustrous.

Cloud banks along the horizon construct snow-capped
castles in opal iridescence, their buoyancy reflected
in the pond. Slate-grey silhouettes of hickory and oak,
their shivering leaves shake frosty air.

Silence stirs under flannel skies and snow
flurries in the argenté air.
Pillows of purest white nestle in bare limbs,
land on red mittens.

Children offer their tongues for a taste.
A sensation of cold disappears in an instant.
Again and again they swallow these melting stars,
laughing, now eating snow like manna.


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