Thin bleached leaves lament the loss
of their communal lairs
as their thick white quilts retreat
— waifs, at the mercy of brusque winds
who pulse them high
into still cold air
— they flap and flail
like errant kites that boys, in sport, let go
—to gloat when they are snared by thorns.
While from the south
called back to their nesting grounds
by forces our blood cannot decode
turkey vultures glide on icy thermals
to reclaim the realm above the evergreens.
The March sky is pristine. Not a vapor trail
erases its blue innocence
as I watch both leaf and bird
drift across my window pane. I imagine
I could choose
— to be a weightless leaf, my will surrendered
and a harsh peace found or to be a great black bird
and flaunt my instinctive mastery.
It is the nature of things:
In spring, the field releases its sheen of snow,
a lacy collar left on its northern edge beneath the evergreens
and thin and thinner ribbons dangling
across the grass, thriving, tangled, tawny.
The self announces itself in transient waves
streaming with the speed of light between our cells
— evolution’s cold unpremeditated gift,
ghostly guide for those who suffer intrinsic disunity.
Everything disappears and arrives to disappear again.
The aged woman before me at the check-out counter shines
with Nordic beauty. I want to tell her so, I want to draw her near,
but do not dare. The country girl, slight and tense,
rings up her bill, suddenly withdraws and walks away. Now, I say,
ashamed to speak the obvious, “She disappeared. “ Beauty
turns to me, eyes lit with wry merriment; “Yes, disappeared,
as so do we all,” is her reply.
That is the nature of things.