Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When the Winter Ghosts Depart

They leave slowly, as if reluctant to go
or unsure when the time is right, like travelers
who can’t decide which books to pack, the long

        Russian novel they’ve been struggling to finish
or the new one about cerebral werewolves, its firm hard binding
bright on the shelf promising a new kind
of death.

Where ice has leeched deep down into soil, they move
slowly, wading through dirt and loosened stones

        but where the symphony of roots has bound them
in a coil of growth they hesitate, caught
up in the coming storm of leaf and branch and flower.

Sometimes they slip away
in pairs, lovers
        from an old film, long, gray coats and a fedora
slanting out into sullen wind.

I have heard them whispering in a taxi or jogging
        to catch a plane, weaving
through moving walkways, spilling
        coffee from Styrofoam cups, committed
to the journey
now, willing to open the welcoming gate.

        And I have known them to dig down into fence posts
grip the wood in their devils’ teeth
pour their sinuous, frozen bodies into clinging pools of wet cement.

Sometimes vague taste of spring catches in their throats, a warm
fist, a warning in the dire air, a syncopation
        of ice

turning to rain, pelting the windows with slippery
        lozenges, loosening a hard grip on muted and tentative grass.

by Steve Klepetar

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