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Sidney Wade

French Lilacs

The earth by now has given up its claw-toothed crocus,

its first born. Still, in shadows,


snow lingers like the smell of old leaves.

The soil has been expanded and torn,


then resettled by the force of the sun.

This morning is dark.


The wind blows and the air is heavy with rain.

The pomegranate heads of the lilacs toss,


glance off one another, bruises among the leaves.

I saved the rose you once gave me.


In its narrow box it aged to the color of dried blood.

Now I stand beneath these sudden flowers


and remember how we rose in those mornings,

light filling our eyes.

Two Leaves

It is barely spring, and I stand here

in the warming sun, hoping that God

will give me a vision, or children,


preferably both. I can see the balanced-

out leaves of last year’s poplars and hear

their delicate rattle. The buds of the shade


trees swell, tighten, and shine when

snow still lies heavily on their branches.

I think of death, of course. The snow,


though deep yet, is dying in its own way—

giving itself up to swollen currents,

brilliance in the sun, somehow joyous


in this transformation. I am alone

by chance, not by nature, and dismayed

at this condition. My feet are cold. Sense


withdraws as the blood shuts down. Just

as I move to head back home I hear

the chirr of the cardinal. Its blood-


red body beats into the light when

it bursts from the trees—the branches

discard wet snow and the bird disappears


into the face of the sun which floods

this white ground with indifference,

and I am warmed to the bone by this circumstance.

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