—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
all day it traveled toward us
on its perfect aim
a great bow quivering behind it
making that sound
we stood in the glare of sunlight
blind with waiting
it sliced the perfect air
with its own perfection
the moment of impact
when it struck our hearts
It’s mid-February. The first blossoms
appear. I feel the brisk change in the air.
Winter sunlight has a sharpness to it,
an edge to the light that is clean.
I brighten—I notice—look hard
to notice tiny bud-swellings on trees.
A few days of sunshine beg for spring.
My car interior is warm when I get in,
I remember sunglasses
against the glare of chrome.
I notice the shadows of everything.
I burn with energy— feel the heaviness
of my clothes—feel thick and restless.
I don’t want to be cold. I shiver. I enter
a huge cloud-shadow that crosses over,
notice the crows fly up from the trees.
Their cries pierce the air. I have been warned.
It is the season of acute loneliness.
Blossoms come to the trees. The skies soften.
Sunlight worries the cold glass of windows.
Geese have returned with their wavering
far cries, guiding each other; first-robins
bring their dear amazement to winter eyes.
I fill the lengthening days with my lethargy.
Disparate people are buying seeds and flowers
in all the nurseries,
They are welcoming the season with their
bursts of energy. I have no energy.
My mind is too heavy.
I have nothing to offer.
My winter heart
has left me another lonely season of mockery.
NEW TO THE CITY
The city is a sewer of blossoms
—David Hassler (from Red Kimono, Yellow Barn)
How can I not love it here—the air
scented with fallen petals, the days
and nights long and full of noise—
everywhere to go—and I young
and full of dancing . . . ? How can I
not dance upon the fallen blossoms
of the city, where they lie—
clogging the gutters—
awaiting rain . . . ?
I will dance in the rain under
the dizzy lights of the perfumed city,
waiting for the one who will love me,
the one who will love the flowers
that fall from my hair
as I dance down the streets
and sidewalks in my satin shoes
that are stained with flowers.
THE CHERRY TREE IN MAY
You with your cherry tree. So ripe. So laden.
You saying: Come; come; before the birds . . .
And I tell my illness and alibis, though my mind
And you say: Birthday. Let’s have a birthday party.
And we’ll pick cherries for later wine . . .
But I say my latest poem is short one line and I
have to read my dictionary.
And you say: Oh, I have baked such a pie. Such
a pie. The crust cannot hold such overflowing . . .
I’ve seen all this. In last year’s hint of summer.
I tasted it then. I put my fork among those cherries . . .
You with your cherry tree, urging: Come . . . come . . .
before those greedy birds can gobble all of them . . . .
Happy Valentine's Day! And thanks, Joyce, for today's tasty Valentine's/cherry blossom soufflé. Joyce took a tumble the other day; nothing broken, but she's sporting a black eye and other bumps and bruises. (Personally, I think it was a bar fight...)
Lots going on this week in area poetry—something every night of the week, in fact, including events with a variety of hotties tonight and tomorrow night in the busy little city of Grass Valley. Sacramento Poetry Center's lecture series begins on Thursday; see Calliope's Closet under the Snake on a Rod on our green board at the right of this column for details.
Our Seed of the Week is My Very First Broken Heart. When was the first time your heart was broken? Was it over a pet, or that teacher in third grade, or the cutie who sat next to you in English? Or were you a late bloomer? Tell us about it in poems and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org/. And our Form to Fiddle With is the cascade: more about that on the green board, too.
These are the days of February—blossoms quick-
ening the trees. All over the city, white blossoms,
pink blossoms—brightening the cold, thin air;
And the mood of winter begins to fight for itself,
bites down on nights and keeps changing its mind.
Dreams up frost, and paints the days differently.