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 cinema.
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.
The time to release caution
and rejoice in change
has not yet arrived,
for the evidence of a harsh season
still lies in gritty drifts on the ground.
Spring is not to be fully trusted
because she has not unlocked herself from this long winter.
Nevertheless, let us witness
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.