Steel Wool

Where it touches the water the sleepy steel-wool wind sands the brass-rippled river free of its smooth shimmer. There is lemon-yellow metal lying on the flooded fields between the two rivers. The sun hides in the hedgerow, slyly slinking away, abandoning the day that it has failed to warm to a night of frosty daggers, creeping in with the growing shadows to cut down the last soldiers of summer and autumn. The fallen leaves turn to iced bronze, beaten copper and frozen blood, to be shattered and trampled. Within a few weeks they will have collapsed into a brown blanket. A kestrel stands on a post, calculating that I am too cold to catch it and so it will not expend precious calories by flying away. The little hunter – not so little now – is not treated with the same contempt as he trots into view, soaking wet and not caring one jot about the cold or the perfect mirror of the water that he has just shattered after another joyful plunge. After all, if the near-still wind can break the surface of the water, why shouldn't he. I throw his stick back at the glimmering mirror.

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