Sonnet for the Ides of December

Pallid hours lit with watery sun
conclude with white-hot sunset behind trees.
Rising Orion tells us, Autumn’s done;
there might be snowfall in afternoon breeze,
or cold rain to ground a murder of crows
who planned to feast on deer-carcass by brook
where new ice should throttle once-steady flows.
Paw-prints in gritty mud say raccoon took
crayfish, or red eft, or just water, here,
ere ambling awaythrough bear-berry…
or perhaps he turned. Few pathways are clear,
since wrens have eaten every last cherry.
Sun massages earth through open windows
of branches, casting sharp, rigid shadows.

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