I lit the fire early in a grate of ice
fruit wood and wrist-thick old briar
catching quickly and climbing in coils
spreading along the ceiling of the low roofed sky.

I pulled an old garden chair to its rough hearth
to the spit and hiss of rose oil
and the sweet fume of sawn apricot and peach
sunk in a warm corner of the garden framed with cold.

Inertia was everything, moving only for books and coffee
my breath a small bellows in the aching air
late afternoon the grass still rimed with white
a gathering shortness drew up the flight of hours

to the dark squat chimney of the evening and the coals
of morning, a ramble of rose hips and bright orange fruit.

Jeff Guess

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