in the not-yet-springtime

in the not-yet-springtime
near laurence’s house,
what could have been lost
is not yet lost,
and i do not look at trees
in search of the gallows that were,
elsewhere, trees that appear
in the nightmares of a faltering

in the not-yet-springtime
near laurence’s house,
i am told that the oasis
is still there, the oasis that is
my own heart, even as my muscles
no longer fling words
with confidence, no longer cast off
the strength of the unwanted

the name of the spring-to-come
hardly matters.  and which sort
of devotion is a question for zealots,
not me.  it is the taut lines,
the speechlessness that runs past
laurence’s house, and on into ukraine
and belarus, somewhere beyond,
in the places where the blood keeps circulating,

(philadelphia, 2019)