The Fourth of March
Just an ordinary day, the milkmaids
holding up their blank white signs
(they’re in full support of Spring),
the trilliums half open, barely pink enough
to tease: a California day that begs
apology to rubber-booted mittened souls
inhabiting the more refrigerated states.
I head up grinning toward the woods
thinking cold air, warm sun, hearing
all three noisy clans of tipsy nuthatch,
beenters, tootlers and yankers,
and two sex-crazed ravens’ firtop mumble.
There’s sun all right, but better bet on rain:
the lichen and the moss, the coral fungi,
those spit-shined, shocking-orange toadstools
look about as happy as cryptogams can be.
I put my ear against a wood-rat’s
twiggy palace just to hear him gnawing.
Each and every spilling creek acts about
half-drunk. Buckeyes wave hands stuffed full
of leaves, salads stolen from a three-fork diner.
Right here, shameless on the mudded track,
I find a scrape. I sniff and stand and brush
my knees: Bobcat! (And I bet he’s up there
lying along one of those meadows
spilled over the ridge, eyes blinked
almost shut, one paw curled under.)
So, what the hell.
I perch myself in a little tree-walled bald
grown up to rock and manzanita
and give up all control to sun and spring.
I let the sunshine tickle with her tongue
that place between my shoulder blades,
I suck the syrup from a little manzanita
bell and commence to contemplate my life,
my half-laced boots clunked upon a rock.
I contemplate. I suck. And then, by God,
I spare the time I need to suck another.