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Charlottesville, 9:00 A.M.
For once, snow; its drapery everywhere 
Like the pure wool of midnight, 
The thoughtless swooning of a shawl.
On the porch outside my window 
Six sparrows breakfast on seeds. 
Their world gone white, their life 
Suddenly monastic and severe.
No wind; yet their brown, terrestrial habits 
Flutter and jump.
And one lone cardinal. 
Their master, their lord of terrible aspect. 
Descends to join them, alights 
With a flourish and rises again.
Weightless as ashes, vivid as flame.

Christopher Yu