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January 6

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We must stop bragging. There are limits
For us to the cold and the twelfth night
 
Marks them all. Just off the coast of Maine
The lobster boats pass, dragging their nets.
 
Capsize once in a while, in water
Like that you die, that’s all, that water
 
Isn’t even frozen. Not even
Frozen, and that’s as cold as it gets.
 
The hearts of birds beat voraciously
So they keep warm, so if you put out
 
A feeder, keep it full of the seeds
Their hearts feed on, then it is only
 
When their food runs out that you find them
Inexpressibly taut in hollows,
 
And that’s as cold as it ever gets.

Vicki Hearne, "January 6" from Tricks of the Light: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2007 by Vicki Hearne.  Reprinted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.
Source: Tricks of the Light: New and Selected Poems (The University of Chicago Press, 2007)
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January 6

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