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the old crone
slurping up
essence of chicken
        as though
it were chicken soup
itself, mis
taking the hum in
her veins
for the ima
gined chicken’s part
ing gift
I know it to be
                        no more
than hot
water’s mo
mentary warming,
                             and how mo
mentary when even naked
flame would howl
and wiggle
an in
        jured fing
er, frost
bitten, coming
too close
              to the
waft of de
               parting chill.