April was a blur of terror pasted over
with false courage and hollow laughter.
The high-pitched nervous giggle
of dentist chairs, executioner hoods,
and divorce proceedings rises into the dangerous air.
We are unhinged.
Midway through the month, a cold snap
crushes every bud and bloom
that had dared to rise in my garden
holding up hope like a hand-painted picket sign.
Smoke tree, sage, grapevine, kale, quince, bee balm,
lavender, iris, lily. People. The people died.
I stand in the morning air, my tears slipping
into the collar of a February jacket.
I can’t tell you why I am crying.
Is it the garden? Loneliness?
Perhaps it’s the fleets of refrigerated trucks
idling in parking lots and gravel shoulders of roads
all over this country waiting to carry away the dead.
People are dying and the only thing I could think to do
was to water these plants, bless a crumbling leaf
by holding it lightly in the palm of my hand,
the breeze rocking it ever so slightly,
then speak to myself with false confidence -
things may look bleak but sunshine will greet us soon.
The house sparrow will balance on a branch,
drawing my eye to the smallest green slash,
folded tight and gathering strength.
It is preparing to enter this world with the same unbridled hope
that we all hold in our hearts
that we will get the chance to briefly exist and turn our faces up to the sun.