Sets Her Right

She almost settles
for a blank page. At the last
minute, she drops

ink—no coloring
inside or outside
the lines. There are none.

Just a geometry
of faith in some kind
of muse. Be it green-tinted

goslings growing by
the second in the grasses
along Lake of the Isles. Or,

some other miracle
still capable of bursting

on the scene upon our poor
wearied planet.

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This Year’s Color

Radiant orchid
throughout each season—even now
when rain can’t quite

wash away the most hardened dirty
snow. Somewhere the temperature

drops just enough at night
before a warming settles in. Somewhere
someone sings,

“California Dreamin’”
to coax things along. Someone

somewhere is still searching
for a word that rhymes
with orange.

Vernal Equinox—What?

This one isn’t talking
into his cell—
he’s just talking
to himself. The first day

of spring and a Caution—
Falling Ice sign
still stands outside
the crime lab. Notable

wind chill and not a blade
of grass to be seen
anywhere outdoors. Inside
the skyway linked

towers, little plots
sprout everywhere.

Wicked May Day

Wind blows over
assumptions about a season. Not this year.
Come back next. Those tiny buds break
my heart. Teased
into believing warmth
would change me. Waiting
for the next me to bloom, I can’t
put this one in the back
of the closet yet. The crowded front
muffles a familiar hum—to be released.

Won’t Turn to Stone

My criminal act concealed
for now we roam beneath bare
branches. Follow the river down

for a radical blossoming
before another cyclone wrecked
hillside. Sneezes for no reason—

there’s never a reason
to be so coy. Forgiveness begins
at the head of the falls.

Recount

Four children four
seasons—does it begin
with spring or winter?
It all depends—

whether we are dormant
before we live, whether
we can begin again, whether
autumn counts at all.

Prelude to a Season and

Your cold retreat just days
before becoming
officially on 

is a cruel dance
on last night’s sighs
into a buoyant civil 

dusk. You turn
me on only to turn
your back to my naked 

fantasies of an us—two
turtles on a broken branch
over the rising river. 

It crests in the valley
at the convergence 

of the small into
the mighty. Floods 

a grain terminal
in new repurpose, drowns
an island for now, distracts 

me from your absence.
This pulled-up leather
collar collides 

with that last image
I’ve been working
into you.