An early blooming pair of cherry trees
trail their budding boughs on the water;
New life bursts their brown skins,
first, before anything else-- so fragile
to be so trusting of so much so early.
It’s been a hard-hearted winter.
Pacing the barren banks,
a Canada goose pokes a webbed foot
into still- frigid Avondale Lake, shivers
violently at its icy touch.
A redundant sign commands:
Don’t feed the geese. After first frost,
most of the afternoon walkers fled
even farther south; they are strolling now
on innocent warm beaches in Mexico.
Here water and soil still recall
deep down inside them how
a once-a-century winter storm
locked down everything for a week
under a six inch sheet of snow and sleet.
When we were last together, love,
it turned cold for late September; suddenly
there were golding edges on the cherry leaves,
and we were awkward as a couple of geese
testing water that ought to have warmed.
I hesitated: Not yet Not yet, but soon.
Soon. When it’s time.
March comes and the cherries bloom.
I don’t believe in omens. Even so,
who’d think that a southern winter
would be so harsh or hang on so long?