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Winter Work

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we scrape the black top
trailing back and forth
without words
like roving machines,
the momentary echoes
of our shovels licking
the asphalt
covered with chilled slush
fill the cold, empty distance
between us

as he clears most of the work
I push and push
to keep up
at least enough to
display some attempt
at a man’s labor

every time I look over
I see a stern man
with expectations bundled
into his thick winter layers
I turn my head back
not only because
of the sting of winter’s bite
but for the pain
of a son’s efforts
sinking
like the flakes reigning down
through the hueless sky

finally
a black rectangle is visible
we both head inside
his steps ahead of mine
he returns to his chair
sitting with a book
I sip my warm, hot chocolate
the closest thing I have
to a pat on the back



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