So subjunctive, your name;
yet there’s nothing iffy
about the trees in basic green,
their colorful underwear gone
back in the drawer of early spring,
nothing the least bit contingent
in the way a woodthrush succeeds
white-throated sparrows at dawn
or iris follows dogwood.
Here in the northern temperate zone,
how could you possibly express
the hypothetical, the wish,
with all your satisfactions
so relentlessly indicative?
Oh, what I wouldn’t give
to cross your looks with just a whiff
of that autumnal musk
you emanate down under.
Hangdog suns skulk in the south,
shirking the late afternoon.
It doesn’t get darker than this.
Now what? What are we waiting for?
Doesn’t get more naked either.
Not as in nude, posing on pillows
with just the right look
for cameras and easels,
but as in stripped of every stitch,
last oak leaves gone,
no hospital gown of snow.
What’s next? Rasping impatience?
Or stiffening torpor, unstirred
by this face without makeup?
Or could it be catching the indigo eye
even the briefest sky bats,
reveler in expectation?
Why does the inability of the eye
to focus sharply on what’s nearby,
thanks to hardening of a crystalline lens,
come on now? Is it pure coincidence
that I finally see, in those closest to me,
the heart’s small print more clearly?
Some people so lonely
they can’t bear the birds again,
those catchy solos about duets
mouthing off outside the window.
Others been lonely so long
they’re used to making do
and don’t want you
reminding them of redbud blossoms
they’ve learned to live without.
So if you’re a victor, shut
your trap and do no harm
to people who hear in birds,
only the terms of surrender.