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Belonging

2012 Poetry Contest Honorable Mention
Belonging

Thirty scarves I finished
for whom I’m not sure
nights awake knit knit pearl.
I wrapped them around my neck
gave each one a name
used the wool of rare alpaca llamas
drove one hundred miles for more
to a farm woven into dense hills.
On the way I stopped for
an old woman the color of truffles
squatting along the road
selling blankets wide enough
to wrap around the family
I never had,
she beaded amber colored bracelets
I have never worn
told me they were for friends
I gave her my scarf named cora.
Back in my car I thought
of all the people in wisconsin,
their pale cold necks
that woman on the edge
of the road
all the unworn bracelets.
And as I rounded one more bend
I came upon a stone cottage
covered in vines like living wallpaper
a farmer came to greet me
took me to meet every one
of his prized alpaca llamas
they each had a name
like a family.
And when I saw dense blankets of fur
hugging their wide flanks
the colors of earth
I buried my face in the warmth
breathed llama
until a small heat
was born in my chest,
and together the farmer and I
wrapped my scarves
around each wooly neck
where they belonged.

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