THE MORNING OF ST. VALENTINE
Like Christopher, a discarded saint.
What's your racket, February morning, spiller of slant-lit
phosphorus in a ribbon of
Windowshade just above the sill? Why it's pills! broad-spectrum
doxycycline ("Take one capsule by mouth,
Twice daily") pills, alice blue, they match the hue
of city garbage trucks advancing in the alley:
Trash-boom-bang, crush goes the crusher, "Might as well get up & take my pill."
Between gulps of water, wondering, Are sparrows too subject
To swollen throats? do bird-lungs brim phlegm: blat, hack,
hawk? "I'm just not up to singing today."
You and your short, though lengthening, winter days, I'm glad
the sparrows haven't taken you off,
Morning. Atop the magnolia (budtipped?) they shrill and preen,
ruling through joyous numbers, leaving a string
Of starlings to a lone clothesline. If only to fly this coop,
break loose, to take you, morning,
To have all of you, en plein air again, with intimacy to deepen
these removed, though charm-bound sketches.
I'm loathe to turn my bathrobe on you, though I should review these books.
So many poems to read and yet
So few to stamp a lasting impression as when your
black slash of power-wire pulls into
Focus dormant chokecherry and deepens to lacquered planks
zigzagging an empty landing, up and out
To Saint Boniface's steeple pinned like an aigrette
to your flame-blue sky. Pigeons
Erupt in it, saturnalia of rings, wheeling in orbits,
then vanish behind the lean-to:
What a riot they've reappeared now they're gone again
before I could finish this sentence.
To be under such weather in February this morning feels like its own sentence
(no liquor til the medicine's finished)
And yet it is leavened with the coming of noon stillness, the cat hops
from his little yellow box, goes to
Bowl and scratches the linoleum there. The fridge kicks up a song.
"Beware, there's beer in there!"
Not to worry there are also stocks of Toblerone,
Rocher and white chocolate almond bark which
You brought me in a little bag with handles, not you, morning,
you are gone, but You whose
Parents have just bought a farm in beautiful Virginia. What is
happening there this time of year? The calendar
They gave me informs "Skunk cabbage up. Plant Lespedenza.
Spring peepers calling in wet areas."
Clearly spring comes earlier there than here, but isn't that a
sure sign it is on its way, and that I may
Chase You soon again through greenspire lindens when the
Botanic Garden blooms, where we may stop
Ourselves in front of Ruby Madder, Star cluster, Cinnamon ferns, spirea,
and say goodbye to all of them again, just by gazing?
Chris Glomski lives in Chicago and co-edits the poetry magazine Near South. He spent much of the summer translating contemporary Italian poets into English.