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First thought:  The wintered birds, returned.

Second thought:  On the phone I kept having to call her back to me. She was listening, elsewhere, beyond me.

Third thought:  The church bells and trains in the distance, how every part of me now peels toward them.

Fourth thought:  I knew. Even then, I knew, even as I fingered the possibility of not knowing like a river stone in my left hand.

Fifth thought:  The days are longer by increments I count by their seconds, knowing winter will end here without me once seeing your face in its light.

Sixth thought:  I have never once worn the burnt butter doeskin braid wraps that were made for me by the long hands of a Lakota elder, their fringe now hanging over the edge of the bookshelf beneath the Eastern window in first light.

Seventh thought:  No one could ever count the number of times in this living that my mother has braided my hair.

© 2015 Dora E. McQuaid

All peace to each one of you. Dora

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