Seasonal, by Karen Volkman

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Much melting, and crows close to home.

Snow giving its fingerprints this March morning.

If I could, I would take your arm

in the manner of our European forebears,

linked elbows, fist pressed close to the heart,

singing songs to the springtime, singing old songs.

It would be this much to give the world,

to the dead in the ground who need consoling,

need consoling.

It would be this much to give to the world

which is not like a boot in the face, but a blessing.

The wordless birches rise up, a pure promise, but

it is

early, the day collects in puddles, you are far off.

And remembering noise in the wind, and


Your eyes which are paler than sleep

kissed from the forehead of one who is still


If I could, I would take your arm.

Then the crow in the pine would know us, saying

These are the ones who knew so little, all this time.

From “Crash’s Law” by Karen Volkman. (Norton: $18.95, 64 pp.) Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.