in the February dawning
of more death and leaf meal,
the lone bird on the branch
that is more ice than wood
sings as if the world is not locked
in its struggle with mortality
and coffins and nor’easters.
A sparrow, I think,
and what a lucky fellow
who can compose concertos
so far away from his usual venue,
a concert hall now invisible
and maybe, we all think,
gone for good.
What secret does he hold?
I’m shaving with lukewarm water
at a porcelain sink installed
in the Depression,
and I don’t share his optimism.
But there’s no one else around.
Does he woo only me?
And yet maybe he is aware
of events that I and my stubble
of chin and earth are unaware of.
He sings as if he were fresh from the womb,
as if he knew of young love and kisses
and picnics with wine and cheese,
as if he’s been told
by a source unknown to me and my kind
of a three day wait
and an empty tomb.