This is the brown-leaf muskiness
a man might smell if he
were newly lying in his grave.
Above that chord of rich decay
there wafts a harmony
of buds and grass and hope.
Lying outside, alone at last
in the generous clasp of spring,
I give myself to the bell-like
crinkle of old leaves, to last year’s
crunchy grass and the damp earth’s chill
on my shoulder blades and elbows.
My face warms slowly on the right
while light diffuses goldenly
through eyelids tight against the sun;
far above, the airplanes hum,
and all around dance out the bright,
insistent songs of birds.
What frail beings we are, laid out
between the sun and dirt.
How hard it seems to be alone,
unhaunted. I clear my mind of hurt
but in you fly again,
landing only to remind me
that you’re leaving with the spring.
And you away, the very birds
fall silent and take wing.