Comes Now Spring


Late March slumps against Lake Michigan –

Cold and brown with patches of crusted snow frozen to the face

of the obstinate earth, wind whips the eyes and tears freeze;


Perhaps, then, we can be absolved, when watching

the mute six o’clock news during the Friday fish fry, Brandy Old Fashioneds in hand,

we see coverage of a tornado in Kentucky, and our eyes are drawn not

to the carnage and twisted metal trailers –


but just beyond to the shining wet green grass

and just budding magnolias, the fat robins hopping from jutting fencepost

to prostrate Toyota, the swollen rivers lapping, lapping

at the tender and torn black earth,


we see not the cops and barricades

or small business owners sweeping up shards of glass but the

way that the clouds are pulled up over the rich and fertile naked fields

just plowed and waiting for seeds to be pressed


deep in the furrows, to take hold of the

earth like fists to unfaithful lapels, like the first

bite of the first apple, like a steel trap suddenly seizing

in mid-lope the trespassing wolf


and then just as suddenly we are let go,

our eyes wide, cherry winter breath exhaled, our brown hills in the distance

coming again into focus, our mind awash in the receding wave upon wave, the promise

of blossoms and warm wind, the tilt of the earth coming back to us,


flush at our table, a waitress with a stiff apron with wide pockets

and a chewed up Bic, a nametag that says Peggy and a tired smile

punctuated with a spasm of cracking gum, coming

to take our order with a torn pale green paper pad;


the usual, she says?  And you betcha, we nod, using the stir stick to hold back

the ice in our glass as we drink, our eyes drifting back to the news, our backs

to the smokers huddled outside in the spitting snow.

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