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On the morning my daughter leaves

blue- and gold-fringed morning cloud sees her off

as always; as always, cattle preside

at their stolid desks beside the road

where it nestles into the curve of the river,

sleep dazzling her with its headlights in the mirror.

       So now she has gone

out, entered that municipality of potential

from where she emerges into lights at the service station,

the queue at the bakery, walking past mulchy rose beds

with their retinue of courtiers in rice-paddy hats.

I imagine the steps she is taking one at a time

as always, as advised, one foot in front of the other,

becoming a stride, wider and wider

until, as one loved by the ground over which she soars,

she is given flight by joy,

embraced by air-lilt, wispstream.

       A character from the classics

in a box on the back seat,

she crests a hill, surveys the town still sleeping under dawn,

first rays touching its spires, steeples,

the weathervanes with metal roosters

making real cries, walls round its locked courtyards wet with dew,

shining like the jeweled breastplates of the distant windows,

the horizon opens its arms

and she is welcomed to the vanishing point.

Last Stanza, April 2024

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