The Old Friend

Raw-boned, the old friend of the fall comes out of the dusk down at the crossroads with a pale, cold face of gravel and flint, his black coat littered with hay and straw. Though his gates are empty, his idle plow rotting under a leafless chestnut tree, he invites you to dine on starlight and time and blue wine by fast, forgotten streams. With bone-thin hands the old bard counts off the names of his cities, his buried seeds, the years of good harvests, the years of drought, and his old friends long lost in their watery sleep. Through the twilight he sings and his saturnine blade casts its curved shadow on the golden grain.

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