Bare and spare trees tip towards the sun,
Soldiers standing at attention, well past
Ready to be counted. They clutch at stray
Crisped elderly leaves, tattered tickets
To this, the changing of the guard.
In the streets mothers unclench their grip
On squirmy progeny who spin and skip
Before casting furtive looks at grown-ups
Whose faces soften when stealing secret sips
Of such fine and misty raindrops and drips.
The man who serves me coffee
Wants to tell me all about his cold --
It's lingered for weeks now.
This from someone who prefers
To slide my drink down the counter,
To avoid the brush of hand on hand.
Impropriety's such a stubborn stain.
I know, I know, I murmur, as
He waits on my reply, It's been
A bad winter, a long one. He nods.
This is what he'd hoped I'd say.
He blushes candy pink and blinks.
And I see -- his face another tree --
Angled, expectant, at anemic light.
Shh, it won't be long. March, they say,
Comes in one way, goes out another.
Sandwiched between: a minute,
Perhaps a second, a sudden shift.
The trees, the mothers, and the man --
They've placed all faith in waiting.
The brittle sunshine soothes:
No, it really won't be long now.