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Near Mountain Miracle
by Mary Langer Thompson

Snow flurries shoot fast and slant,
collide with my windshield
and die.
I stop to pump gas with gloved hands.
Breath clouds form and
I dash into the Circle K
to buy hot chocolate,
and news.

A local paper features
the young snowboarder who
took a wrong turn,
slipped off the trail.
Five days later his rescuer said,
"I'll never give up hope again."
Now the boy asks
for sports magazines, and
each of his town's churches
know their prayers
were the ones answered.

"This paper's days old,"
says the gum-chewing clerk.
"Been outta town," I say.
She adds,
"By the way,
the boy died this morning.
Heart attack.
And frostbite.
Gangrene set in, too.”

I carry his story
past the empty,
metal newsrack,
back outside where
sharp-edged icicles
pierce the cold night.


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