February 25; March 14, 2014
(Bob Ambrose, Jr.)
When catkins swell the tips of alder
red fringed auras
of river side maple
soften the bare edge of winter
In air set sharp
against the stale drift
and sullen throes
of late stage February.
You would not call this tame day
mellow – that is past and yet to be –
but buried deep in dead brown
sameness, spirits gather.
I wish these days would hurry on –
my mother’s presence
pierces years to conjure sun
and wrap the world in warmer tones.
And I hear his gentle rejoinder
that soothing faux-scold timbre
tinged with a twinkle –
Don’t wish your only life away.
Dad was the ever-enduring hills
she an effervescent air-kiss
the smiles and dreams of springs to come.
Now both are gone.
So I throw on a warm layer
zip inside my black hoodie
and huddle out back
in a broken pool of light
Wishing with mother for
ever warmth and winter’s end
and feeling my father’s calm
as if from distance – stay, stay
Spirits of the earth and air
are washed clean in cold breeze
beneath the bare-branch starling tree
on catkin edge of winter time.
(photo by Michelle Castleberry)