But here, winter is winding down,
icicles drip from gutters, red fox
stalk squirrels in the maple trees,
and white tail deer forage for apples.
Soon we’ll be uncluttering
the closets, packing away
fleece coats and heavy sweaters,
lugging crates of bulbs from the cellar.
Soon we’ll be on our knees
planting those golden stones,
clearing brush and twigs,
dead leaves stuck to fence lines.
In a couple of months, amorous pairs
of blue jay and robin will filch
scraps of twine and cloth, twisted threads
of honeysuckle from the compost
to patch last year’s nests or build
new ones in the English oaks.
We will work beside them
in shirtsleeves and jeans,
hauling ice-snapped branches
to the bonfire, payloads of dirt
across the yard in a rickety wheelbarrow,
just so one chilly April night
we can admire our work,
note with pride straight rows
of tomato plants and pinto beans,
daffodil and sweet onion, strings of rain lily
poking green heads through the earth.
Mike Pantano lives with his wife and pets in Cincinnati, Ohio. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Wednesday, San Pedro River Review, Museum of Americana, Gravel, Flint Hills Review, Slipstream, and elsewhere.