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to make a phone call,
fails to make her connection,
and then, not having so much as glanced
at any of us, re-enters
the snowy dark. They talk
of her marriages and divorces,
her several religious conversions
(which the desk-lady deplores),
her wanderings. Then one of the old men
declares, `And she was once
a real good looker.' The other
after a long pause
looks out the window and says,
`I believe it's lettin' up....' And the fi rst,
`Damn but she was a looker.'
When I fi nish my last letter
they have all long since retired.
I have the place to myself.
I step outside a moment.
The snow has stopped, the town
lies in the same stillness
as the low hills around it.
The cafe is closed and dark,
the streets are empty,
the buildings look small,
contracted hard
in the clear cold, under
the open starry sky.
I stay a moment longer,
feeling the cold
bite in, and watch the stars,
a great scattering,
variously fl ash and dim
over the country.