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In The Moon When Lakes Start To Freeze, We Drive To Door County
by Mary Jo Balistreri

 The golden bronze death of red oaks 
           arches over the road 
 as we drive into tunnel 
 upon tunnel 
 of illumination          Country hymns 
                                       Carry Me Down By The River 
                                                                 Whispering Hope  in my ear 
 open onto field upon field of cornstalks 
            marsh grass         weathered red barns         stone silos 
 A flock of starlings block out the sun 
 Gulls assume the sky’s 
 Vista after vista changes before us 
 trees                  russet and burgundy 
 sumac               color of dried blood 
 evergreens        so blue they are black 
 Snow’s slate gray sky wavers over morning 
 A few flakes drift 
 Green Bay waters       leap 
                                fall back 
 Limestone bluffs stand still 
 As day darkens toward night 
             those we have lost 
 appear along the roadside of our minds 
          two small boys wave 
      parents                    grandparents 
          friends from long ago 
 We carry them forward even as they vanish 
              into the blur of distance 
 Carry them with us 
              to another harvest 

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