December thirteenth. North Carolina. I hear a tree frog click. Fire crack.
The same dog over and over. A layered silhouette of trees against tees
misled me into thinking I can glimpse the shape of the gully in front of me.
Hard wooded. Known to house turkeys. One fat cornfed squirrel.
I blame the calendar for most problems.
They make it too easy to wait.
The calendar always made me late.
Mark one a holy day.
People sacrifice hundreds of others preparing for it.
Marking them off as they get in their way.
With seasons, on the other hand, we are ahead of the game.
Like tonight. It isn’t even winter yet. And already, it’s spring.
Do you type your poems. Tapping like a red headed woodpecker up and down a dying dogwood. Big bold bluejay looking your way. Do you keep your cat indoors. Fat squirrels upside down on red oaks that smell rotten on the inside say you do. The field rats digging tunnels into the chicken coop do too. Do you use the backspace key the way you wish you could. Do you delete lines from your poems. Do you highlight some words and hold down Ctrl and B to embolden them. Do you cut and paste your memory the way you would a page?
A lot of moss. A lot of mushrooms as soon as it turns warm. A lot of rebel-headed, nonconforming grass: a mosh-pit sort of lawn. Been having these insatiably royal dawns: a bright, military blue, a misty, someone paid dearly for this hue. It’s death stew. One day the main course will be you. So eat up.
Bricks that didn’t make the cut line the sidewalk, terrace the beds, raise the gardens. Block rats from eating chicken dinner. Prop up pallets and weighed down tarps and sometimes just sat, piled, and waited, freed up and unfixed in a way house bricks will never be again. Susceptible. Changeable. Ever stalked by that flashing cursor, and living feral and terrified beneath the eternally unforgivable backspace key. Locked in placelessness.
Amphibians croak up out of the mud. Crack the earth’s crust like the eggshells they all broke. Can’t rake the leaves for the salamanders curled up underneath. Do you type poems. Do you step lightly in nature, and stomp hard on city streets. Do you rake your yard like you’re supposed to. Save your mistakes. Keep a place to keep alive all the poems you wrote you hate.
What is memory, to you. Do you still pretend it’s up to you?
Auburn horizons with a purple tinge.
Fields of once white snow grow colored creme de la creme.
Cinnamon trees mixed in.
White lights slow strobe on distant radio towers.
And giant concrete straws blow bubbles of steam
in long trains that fade into brown clouds.
Snow soft as down falls apart in breath.
A foot or so of depth.
Ice layer beneath that.
From so much unexpected rain.
Dropped fifty degrees.
In the short course of a single day.
And the purple horizon.
The pink sun rises.
The rain intends to stay.
The spring sun comes with vengeance, doesn’t it?
Full of memory, and contemptuous resentment.
As if to communicate the fiery sentiment,
how dare you turn the side of that oily adolescent face to me?
Where did you all find the strength to roll over the other mountainous cheek?
Like leaves only came to conceal shame and cower in shade.
Like flowers are gestures, jokes and tricks, vying to be the one
to show the sun a bauble, trinket, or color it did not know of before.
As if the whole sparking intention of nature was to express,
well, now there is more.
Yes, we turned away from you God, you flaming liquid blob,
you roiling chariot of fake yellow gold, but yet, turned back,
away from winter’s star spoiled black and cold mist mornings.
A choir of erratic voices, a billion years of genetically recorded choices,
all loud and delighted to be your wriggling little satellite,
make you proud being burned by light who escaped, temporarily,
into chilling darkness and felt a pale, frail,
sort of lonely happiness in your absence.
But when that full sun returns to shine against the living,
slapped unprepared while the trees are still bare,
it feels more like vengeance, than Spring, doesn’t it?
Slightly yellowed clouds. And slightly golden.
A large ever-present star burning beyond them.
Bright. Drawn back eyes light.
Shiny like the lyrics of a hymn.
Greasing up vapor blocked ridges like a raw egg
boiling across a charcoal color cast iron sky.
From clear and thick to white jiggling flap of skin.
Leftover from a different sort of better fed man.
Clouds grow loose. Less yellow. Less gold.
Only slightly cold. Like that veiled tender hymn.
Awaiting the bird-feathered, bubble-throated
pipe organ of spring to come crashing in.