Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday Words - Late February

The first warm day,  
and by mid-afternoon  
the snow is no more  
than a washing
strewn over the yards,
the bedding rolled in knots  
and leaking water,  
the white shirts lying  
under the evergreens.  
Through the heaviest drifts  
rise autumn’s fallen  
bicycles, small carnivals  
of paint and chrome,  
the Octopus
and Tilt-A-Whirl  
beginning to turn
in the sun. Now children,  
stiffened by winter  
and dressed, somehow,  
like old men, mutter  
and bend to the work  
of building dams.
But such a spring is brief;  
by five o’clock
the chill of sundown,  
darkness, the blue TVs  
flashing like storms
in the picture windows,  
the yards gone gray,  
the wet dogs barking  
at nothing. Far off  
across the cornfields
staked for streets and sewers,  
the body of a farmer  
missing since fall
will show up
in his garden tomorrow,  
as unexpected
as a tulip.

“Late February” by Ted Kooser from Sure Signs. Copyright © 1980 by Ted Kooser.

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