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READING

It is spring when the storks return.
They rise from storied roofs.
In the quick winter afternoon you lie on your bed with a library book close to your face, your body on a single bed, and the storks rise with the sound of a lifted sash.
You know without looking that a servant girl is leaning out in the soft foreign air.
A slow spiral of smoke from green firewood is reflected in her eyes.
She moves down an outside stair absently driving the poultry.
The storks are standing on the roof.
The girl wraps her hands in her apron.
Small yellow flowers have clumped among the tussocks of coarse grass.
She listens with her mouth open to something you cannot hear.
Your body is asleep.
She smiles.
She does not know a cavalry is coming on a mud-rutted road, and men with minds like ferrets are stamping their heavy boots along the pages.

by Ruth Stone
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