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TOCSIN*

I

Found a finger in the snowslush:
a perfect digit with an iced-blue knuckle
and purpleblue nail, stiff and pristine.
Thought a finger would be useless
without a hand, but it made an impeccable
utensil for writing names in the snow.


II

This past Autumn our pines and spruce trees
were weighted down with an abundance
of cones: heavy brown omens of a long
and treacherous Winter, of dangerous drifts,
and bluecold faces and fingers.


III

Mittened hands shake snow
from a girl's hat and coat and marbled skin,
poke fire into her hypothermic limbs;
their eyebrows are stretched into question marks
but their eyes lock in truth, knowing,
as they drag her from the bloodstainedsnow,
gloveless and missing one finger.

*an omen

      — Barbara Fletcher