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  • Long Winters North of Where the Mind Leans
  • Judith Lauter

Out the window where the man looks, unconscious of looking, are possibilities of metaphor: mind

digging its toes into sand, daring the turquoise edge of the sea, distances grading into deeper

and deeper green leading the eye out to blinding light. The set of the mouth is for patience—with offices,

the hours until closing time, when the rustle of multiple leavings becomes everything, doors

closing on all this. Out there only a few steps on stone lead finally to the wet sea of the park, its slick surface heaving

under hurricane clouds. Now the first failure today: the face still warmed by metaphor must turn itself north

to get home, putting the fact, the idea of the south, behind him—where, in the park, hands of fan palms rattle

above the stiff bodies of spruces, oleanders suggestively ruby nod among shadows of maples, the small perfect

moon faces of gardenias open their mouths to declare the death of all patience, the essential fragrance of Florida. [End Page 226]

Judith Lauter
Nacogdoches, Texas