An elephant herd of storm clouds
trample overhead. The air vibrates
electrically. The wind is rough
as hide scraping my face.
Longhaired rain occludes the pines.
This storm seems personal. We
crouch under the weight of the laden
air, feeling silly to be afraid.
Water comes sideways attacking
the shingles. The skylight drips.
We feel trapped in high surf
and buffeted. When the nickel
moon finally appears dripping
we are as relieved as if an in-
truder had threatened us and
then walked off with a shrug.
Grass grows in the night
and early the mockingbirds begin
their fleet courtships over puddles,
upon wires, in the new green
of the Spanish limes.
Their white-striped wings flash
as they flirt and dive.
Wind in the chimes pulls music
from the air, the sky’s cleared
of its vast complications.
In the pause before summer,
the wild sprouting of absolutely
everything: hair, nails, the mango’s
pale rose pennants, tongues of birds
Words, even, and sudden embraces,
surprising dreams and things I’d never
imagined, in all these years of living,
one more astonished awakening.
‘Twas but a hint of Spring—for
The atmosphere was sharp and chill
Save where the genial sunshine smote
The shoulders of my overcoat,
And o’er the snow beneath my feet
Laid spectral fences down the street.
My shadow, even, seemed to be
Elate with some new buoyancy,
And bowed and bobbed in my advance
With trippingest extravagance,
And, when the birds chirpt out some-
It seemed to wheel with me and stare.
Above I heard a rasping stir—
And on a roof the carpenter
Was perched, and prodding rusty
From out the choked and dripping
And some one, hammering about,
Was taking all the windows out.
Old scraps of shingles fell before
The noisy mansion’s open door;
And wrangling children raked the yard,
And labored much, and laughed as
And fired the burning trash I smelt
And sniffed again—so good I felt!