Boone Winter v1

Brown-black mulch
speckled with cigarette butts,
bed carved by roots
of a barren tree, roots worming
their way across an island
prison in the parking lot,
asphalt white with salt,
black with oil
spattering the ankles of students—
students hugging, pressing
against the wind, wind
that tears at the flesh, freezes
the blood mid-stream,
crowds of students, heads
down, covered,
ears covered,
beaten, bearing weight enough
for forty men—
it silvers the hair,
poisons the water,
pales lips to ash, barren
as the ash-gray trees.

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