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By Perry Nicholas

The sun’s rays a bit too bright

through the sliding glass doors,

but we decline the invitation to move.

It’s our private place, after all.

Forty feet away an icy yard,

a renovated carriage house, a brick

fire pit struggling for no one in sight.

No schedule yet, just coffee, poetry,

four eyes finishing each other’s thoughts.

The waitress knows not to return

too often to ask routine questions.

The owner, we don’t want to be disturbed.

Slow warmth in here, hard snow outside,

stirring up phrases we want to preserve

for the remainder of our time together.

In our small back-table world, we attempt

these lines that might freeze the rays.

PERRY NICHOLAS will join poet and nonfiction writer E.R. Baxter III in a reading at 7 p.m. Friday in the auditorium of the Burchfield Penney Art Center sponsored by the M&T Second Friday Series. He is an assistant professor of English at Erie Community College North, where he was awarded the 2008 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities and the 2011 President’s Award for Classroom Instruction. Nicholas is the author of five full-length books of poetry. His most recent collections are last year’s “Beginnings: Poems to Greece and Back” and “The Company We Keep” (co-authored with Maria Sebastian).