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James Patton



I remember my father best

In the smells of Fall:

Fresh turned forest earth

Where elk have run;

The sweat of pine pitch

Amber-gathered in scars

Speaking of old injury;

Pungent alder smoke

Mixed with coffee;

The caress of cedar

Split and stacked to season;

Salmon roe and borax;

And river silt, rich in decay.

Season in the air

Fills my heart

And I return to ritual.

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