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First Frost

By John I. Blair

Comes a day in late November
The night sky clears
And fills with stars.
By dawn, Iím told,
First Frost will call.

Disguised in heavy coat and gloves
Out on my patio I stride,
Waving a flashlight here and there,
Deciding who Iíll bring inside,
Who will die and who will live.

First I give a hand to the old schefflera,
Grown imperial over years,
Sprawling more than seven feet,
Seat her in the highest place.
Then all the tributary tribe:
Neat poinsettias, tall shrimp plants,
Ragged bromeliads with gaudy flowers,
Tender ferns from Vietnam,
Two small pineapples, new this time.

Saved in haste from a frigid fate,
They huddle there in the dark garage,
Winter refugees once more,
Hidden in their hibernal home,
Fleeing a cold they donít remember.

©2004 John I. Blair  

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