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King Winter

King Winter

On a day as this

when the winds bear

an icy breath, they strip

the vines of vineyard leaves,

disrupting the careful symmetry

of leaf and branch, tear even

the hardy nuts loose so

at last we know

winter is king.

No benevolence in his gaze

no warmth in that grip

even the light quails.

This is the new King,

crowned in a white mantle

and his feet are an icy swath

of grasses, brittle ice.

Birds shiver in darkened

bushes, coo for dawn.

It is not morning to the quiet

sleepers in their burrows

or to the trees patient as hills.

In a safer place, the drowsy

fish fin a current, taste

the water for something new.

Fisherman huddle in small boats

nose into the current and

watch filaments of hope.

Across the broad compass of

San Pablo Bay


in fits and starts

finds strength in its travel

lifts white from the cool grey.

Enough recent rain shower

that the low hummocks of

East Bay, jewelled with refineries,

drifts into sky.

Low sky.

High Bay.

This corner of the citied

estuarine domain

has long ceded its wildness.

Oak sheathed low hills are

patched in yellow grass

shot with homes and tied

in highway lines. A blink

where Broth

Trees and vines stand bared.

It is only rain.

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