When I watch awhile alert
for the promise flaring
at the stratus edge of sundown
just before the shades of night
erase the final spray of fire,
I can touch a season's seams
in moments that define the bounds of time
and clock the axis of the earth.
Can see the myrtle warbler only once
winging westward toward the river
rim and know in late October
the roll is on again.
Can feel the hunching of the night
the instant after winds and leaves
are spent, crouching down and collared
before an unexpected snowfall.
Can surprise a hearty crocus
underfoot, dodging sidewalk thaw,
while behind, the turf print
echoes up my shanks.
Can taste familiar summer flavors
through the kitchen screen
before the broadcast of a thunderclap
cuts the crust of April loose.
When these sacramental cracks
open broken seasons, I slide
between the slip I am
and the sweep I could become.
*Accepted in American Poets & Poetry (late 1999).