In winter’s dark garden
light slants downward over trees,
small shrubs, waning life,
flickers into branches
illumining small patches of death,
withered leaves lurking under
the fringe of boxwood.
Meandering paths guide
feet to remote corners
shielding espaliered camellias’
gently colored edges
foreshadowing bloom unbelievable
in this cold time. They hang
like tightly bound Chinese feet
which would unfurl
by the bonds of winter.
By the water, the late flowering
overblown, sulfur-yellow roses
linger against the wall,
resting on blistered paint
protected from wind
they have bloomed
next to decay.
Their unexpected presence startles
just as your unseasonable
appearance in my life
caused the early emergence
of intemperate spring.
like the silver-gilded, tea-stained water
of the rivers of my world,
slide over this landscape,
gentling each hill,
smoothing each furrow,
walking each crevasse.
form a new chamber in my heart,
set it beating to your rhythm.
my hair grows to meet your touch.
my ears receive a shower of tears
where the wash of salt dissolves
You enter my eyes
flooding my brain with colors
imperceptible in the light,
indivisible in the dark,
penetrating a gray world
and replacing it with white.
I want to dress like the pines
of spring. Tousled, tangled
garlands of gold twining my head.
Glistening greenery sleeving my arms
ending in fingertips of powdery coated gilt.
Then dance March’s tango. Leaning
into my partner, the wind. Bending with ease to
his urging, only to pull back as he changes
ardent caresses from this side to that.
I shall whirl. Whipping my head back
north and flinging brassy Jessamine trumpets
south to land on piles of needles. Until
I arrive at April. When I shall return—
sedate to normal life.