A single day of alpine brightness
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blazed through winter gloom.
It’s February, and we’re still new
as crocuses unbloomed.
I have stopped saying no
and we’ve stopped making love
since we cannot make love anymore,
so I've borrowed your boots
and we’re out in the sun
with the wind like a wolf at a door.
At the cowpond
you hunker beside the gorse:
No early frogs yet there
though the shallows are russet with humus,
(I remember The Death of a Naturalist
but decide it's too hard to explain
over barriers of language,
and of literature unshared.)
But when I cry ‘Look, a lapwing'
you do not say ‘What?’ or ‘Where?'
and pass the fieldglasses back to me, aware.
As a muckspreader, up at the topfield
trails all of Cheshire’s birds
in its reeking wake:
The gulls a-scream, the wide-winged buzzards
scorning the squabbling rooks
as they scorn the sulphur-stink, like burning hair
and the starlings, shoaling tight in the cold thin air.
These empty hills are green and vast
The hawks, now blinding-high in the low sun’s glare
And all of the sky
is an ocean, heard from afar.
How wrong I was, Cheri.
How right you are.