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Recovering Amid The Farms

 Every morning the sad girl brings her three sheep 
and two lambs laggardly to the top of the valley, 
past my stone hut and onto the mountain to graze.
She turned twelve last year and it was legal for the father to take her out of school.
She knows her life is over.
The sadness makes her fine, makes me happy.
Her old red sweater makes the whole valley ring, makes my solitude gleam.
I watch from hiding for her sake.
Knowing I am there is hard on her, but it is the focus of her days.
She always looks down or looks away as she passes in the evening.
Except sometimes when, just before going out of sight behind the distant canebrake, she looks quickly back.
It is too far for me to see, but there is a moment of white if she turns her face.

by Jack Gilbert
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