Broken Seasons*

 

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.

 

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*Accepted in American Poets & Poetry (late 1999).