On the last day of November I went out in the fog.
Sorrow was my companion.
The River Columbia was greener than tears,
the oak woods were bare
and the hemlocks were black in the fog.
I drove through a land full of ghosts.

High in the hills the fog broke up.
Tatters burned silver in the inland valleys
under a low sun and a mackerel sky.
We drove through winter-gold pastures
drunk on sagebrush-flavored air.

I said, “Sorrow, why do you follow me?”
He said, “Because you forget
everything that is dear to you.
It passes into my keeping
and I remind you when the time is right.

“Some day when summer hangs green in all the trees
you will sell me your heart for a handful of winter-gold
or a coin-sized slice of silver fog
and you’ll call it a good bargain.”

In a high place where mountains peered over the rim of the world
and the cloud-shadows were so vast they had no shape
I turned to him in the booming wind and said,
“Old friend– old friend–
remind me once again?”

Sorrow placed his hand on my shoulder
and in my ear he whispered
the Name of God.

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