6am

Flip downside up to start over. Glance away to save face. Grains of sand drain like second hand ticks. Opened eyes flicker closed to blink away saltwater. The days lengthened lengthened shrunk again to nothing in a moment.  Leaves redden and are shed in one week’s time. Well-placed footsteps land with a crunch destroying what was almost never there. This is how winter returns; it had never left this place. This is how winter returns; this is the end beginning.

There’s a growing crispness in the air as temperature inches away from the oppressive toward the negligent. It eases breath until a point where oxygen is too diffuse until capillaries are too constricted. Gasps to make it through the night. Gasps to make it through just one more night. Air held too long in lungs, that still-same worthless hope, as final grains of sand return to the overhead. This is a return to what had never left. This is the beginning of the end. 

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