It's April brown. It's cabin-crazy, Sunday brown
and we haven't seen the sun
for seasons. We'd rather see brown
than be blue, and so we are driving
the gravel-sparse county, not knowing
where we're going. We feel the pull of it.
It's caution that turns our music down
and makes us realize our stories
have no end or beginning.
It surrounds us: ditch and patchwork fields:
the straw and the clod, the fissure and crack
of a wet wound healed and reopened. We ride
parallel the slope and climb. We tic off time
in terms of sand and loam and clay unbaked.
We witness slide, the silt, and off-kilter hills.
Run off makes for unplanned ponds.
The feathers of ducks are the only green thing.
Otherwise, it's dead grass
in the unfenced yards of people who
know no neighbors. If they planted flowers,
they planted them long ago. Wild bulbs
make their maybe promises of crocus,
hyacinth, daffodil. The house on the hill
is a fortress, whose fence opens out to field.
This dirt is machine worked
or hand sifted by winter that knew no
letting up. Don't shoot the messenger.
Winter is a precursor to that thing
we've been waiting for. I'm sure Spring
is tucked somewhere out here
past the city limits signs. Bless its softness.
Bless the sometimes disappearance of snowflakes.
Bless the impressionistic tracks
and the roads still closed to traffic
that doesn't exist. Bless the paw print
and the hoof beaten sod, the dust we grind
into the welcome mat. Bless the boots
drying outside the door, bless the cat
who chatters at squirrels. Bless the cold
linoleum. Bless the steeping cup of tea,
and the hands making prayer hands around it.
Bless the returned lovers trading heat
and hoping winter will soon be over
under this familiar white blanket.