This morning, flowers cracked open
the earth’s brown shell. Spring
leaves spilled everywhere
though winter’s stern hand
could come down again at any moment
to break the delicate yolk
of a new bloom.
The crocus don’t see this as they chatter
beneath a cheerful petal of spring sky.
They ignore the air’s brisk arm
as they peer at their fresh stems, step
on the leftover fragments
of old leaves.
When the night wind twists them to pieces,
they will die like this: laughing,
tossing their brilliant heads
in the bitter air.
About.com: Poetry, Spring Poems Anthology, March 22, 2007.
Partial Building Collapse
Debris fluttered beneath the quiet frame
of police tape as I passed: feathers and dross
lay dazed on the pavement. Fourteen years ago
the possibility of destruction did not frighten me.
Then the pigeons returned to roost on the raw
edges of what had been broken.
Today’s leafy debris has crumbled beneath the sodden
edge of rain. I ignore the rawness, scuff some rocks
on my way to the mailbox. I know the disintegration
of a leaf is nothing to mourn, but I can’t help wishing
for more: perhaps the soft flutter of a feather carving
the wind’s broken corners.
Tomorrow it will snow; I’ll try not to mind the cold
shape of another season. Decay stalks the unwary.
Everywhere I walk, a new path of destruction. Grown
children. A dead mother. Closed doors locked between
all things. Sorrow is familiar and fickle as the wind—
I ignore its mercurial nature.
A birth and fourteen years have passed since the shock
of it. The sudden crumble of bone is so quiet, no one
expects the fall. Severed concrete isn’t easy to ignore
but I’ve become expert at dodging the frame of grief.
Years wing by, ordinary as pigeons gliding into the eaves,
their few stray feathers breaking buildings underfoot.
First published in The Pedestal Magazine, Issue 38, February 21-March 21, 2007.