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Nineteen Years

breathing here
for far less than 19 years,
our masked students
return Not yet singing
but nervous, flippant,
sleepy, smiling, tense,
chattering, brittle,
brave but
not yet boisterous
Not yet.

In the newly quiet house
far older than 19 years,
the walls remember

On the table
the Japanese lanterns
glow orange in their vase
even in the dark

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