Sidewalk Glacier (2019)

The slick gray humps —

shadows of glorious glacial whales of old —

have ebbed from cycles of freeze and thaw and rain

to create islands of receding winter.

From January to March,

these masses have shrunk,

slunk much lower to the edges

of the sidewalk by the cemetery.

Saturated with soot and exhaust,

the sullen ice-beasts resist the warmer air

and clutch at soggy remnants of broken

plastic spoons, cigarettes, and coffee cup lids.

It’s not time to release caution and rejoice in change,

for the evidence of a harsh season

still lies in gritty drifts on the ground.

Spring is not to be fully trusted

because she hasn’t earned it this long winter.

Nevertheless,

see how this reticent mistress has lifted

the curled edges of sidewalk ice

so that currents of rippling melt-water lift the floes,

stirring hopes we guard like hungry seeds.

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