Thursday, March 13, 2014

Catkin Time

Athens, Georgia
February 25, 2014; revised February 23, 2015

When catkins swell the tips of alder

and red fringed auras of river side
maple soften the bare edge of winter,
a new breeze lifts the stale grip 
of late stage February.

You could not call these tame days
mellow – that is past and yet to be –
but deep within the dead brown
layers, 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 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
and wash my soul in cold breeze
beneath the bare-branch starling tree

on catkin edge of winter time.

Riverside Maple, March 2014