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Transference

          St. Paul, Minnesota 

Returning from a walk, we reach our house and see the light 

burst a hole through the living  

room window, sidewalks and roads glazed with ice,

mailboxes tight-lipped.  

I look up at mother, watch the snow  

rest on her eyelashes. 

Around us, the snowblowers and snowplow-trucks begin 

once more, another morning.  

My father’s part of the crew as well. 

In the distance, a train just visible above the treetops.

The women enter the house,  

stay there. Wanting to help my father, I go in,  

change into snowpants, then run back outside, 

hop toward my shovel,  

which is leaning against empty pots and the gutter.

It has a plastic red blade, like a matchstick— 

In this scene, like others 

to come, I am a child up to no good.  

See for yourself: how I grab the shiny handle,  

how unevenly the yard ignites. 

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