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The killdeer build their nest along the gravel drive. Small,
long-legged birds, the pair of them guarding their clutch

of camouflaged eggs in the frosted grass. It’s their nature
to lead predators astray, feigning injury with a broken wing.

Here we are in each other’s path, the deception wearing thin,
shifting like snowfall on gray gravel. Neither of us can decide

what to do next, yield or turn away. The humble dirt between us.
We lean in, see how close we can get without flinching.

January Gill O’Neil is the 2019-2020 John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and the author of Rewilding, Misery Islands, and Underlife, published by CavanKerry Press.

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