In the Arid Air of Winter
by Paulette Demers Turco

   in response to Walk in Beauty by Ann Huston

Clothed in layers of red and gray at dawn
on her walk along the worn clay way,
this frigid winter hour, she feels she's drawn
along the river's edge to sense each ray

of subdued lavender and hint of rose
above, its warming light on thin white ice,
hiding life below. The river flows
beside her, hidden. Can she bear the price

to leave her aching wound, her loss, behind,
not fear the brambles, thorny branches, sprigs,
the rocky hills? For now, she will remind
herself that barren branches soon hold figs,

that once lush leaves of red-tinged twigs release
each fall, some root—come spring, bring beauty, peace.


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