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Ceremony

We count headstones like this:
Hankey, Hankey, Brown.
Children chant games and tear through the woods
at dusk, circling up, taking turns poking a dead bird
with a stick, weightless ceremony,

and at bedtime they will stuff their pillows
with prayers, uprooted lilies, and September.
Do we still forget that stars hover in perpetual death?

Through the dawn, each step stirs a murmuration
of starlings, a swarm of black
against pink sky against the surface of the lake.
Each beat of each wing: In all things, I wait for you.

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