Easter Waxes (The Rest Of It Wanes)
Lent, in its pale hearse, has rattled
almost by and I remain unchanged.
Closer to death
but no wiser for it.
When I was a child, my mother
once told me the world was good
and offered as proof
maggots and buzzards
and their unquenchable mouths.
“Better than a world full of dead things,” she told me.
Except this is
a world full of dead things.
What started with ashes and snow—
that seamless wind like one long cruel word
hissed for weeks from between the dried lips of a witch,
that pallid gray sky like an aged smoker’s lungs
giving up and given up on,
those heating bills that would not dip, though
we could see our breath as we lay shivering
beneath piles of quilts—
What started it all has turned
preeningly into a baker’s dozen of warms and greens.
Now, the crocuses and daffodils
stand along fence rows and mailboxes
like young, pert, pre-sexual-revolution secretaries,
armed to the teeth in delightfulness.
Beauty’s but a low-slung sandbag in these parts, ladies,
tossed and tossed again along the banks of
Time’s ever-rising river—
the only cup we have that runneth over when running out.
Next? The tulips, I suppose. Cherry blossoms
and the ditches full of wildflowers whose names
I still don’t know.
Do you remember how,
when the old lady next door fell
her last time to the pink
her orange cat
took up with another neighborhood retiree?
He’d become attached, it seemed, to
loud television sets and early rising,
the smell of Bengay and slow-moving feet.
He may have to move on again
unless his own burial befalls him first
in the short, unruffled row of hemlock out back,
where he suns and courts birds.
We are time bombs ticking toward eventual bloom
— Another poem that I feel I still haven’t sanded down properly, but Lent’s days are numbered, so…