SMALL POEM FOR THE NEW YEAR: EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T GREY IS BROWN,

the roadside flowers, sky-blue chicory, goldenrod,
Queen Anne's Lace now turned to beige, khaki, fawn;
lawns that stretched like velvet carpets
are faded quilts of dun and bone.
Grey bark of poplars, paler birches, a quick-
silver brook still running, the thin cusp
of a new moon, everything
without color. And I'm out on the back road,
the stony wayside, walking on the sleeping earth
in this thin new year, wanting to walk right
into the sky, an oyster shell of taupe and pearl
that dapples everything beneath it.
Barbara Crooker

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