The skittering sunlight is a honey-lemon hue,
replacing winter’s glare, washed-out and sullen.
I walk in sneakers instead of boots, without
gloves or a cap, a scarf even.
Shine and shadow make a lattice of lines
under the still-barren trees. I need
a tidy mind like that. I’d like
a well-tended row of peonies, please—
But it’s trash day and the barrels
are out, windblown on the walkway,
overturned, stench lingering.
I weave down the street to avoid them.
A sparrow sings merrily atop
a discarded computer monitor.
A single new green leaf has fallen.
I dodge dogs and at the Common
veer to the blue of the cove, where
polished water sapphires, but the shore
is a mess from yesterday’s rain
and swollen tide. Like love is a mess
I tell myself, like family is, like
the mind. Nasty wads of paper
and plastic bags wetly wrap
god knows what. I walk a wide arc
around it in the sodden grass,
not wanting to look. Like love
is a mess, like I try not to remember
the dream where a friend I thought
was a friend leaned forward mid-
sentence and kissed me, gently,
timidly. After, we stepped back,
regarded one another with abashed alarm.
I walk a wide arc around. Ahead,
budding birch trees are frizzled
with crimson agitation. And what
is budding in me, flaring redly?
What green thing will unfurl and flatten
whether or not I stay here to watch?
What has washed up on my shore?
Who will drag the dirty barrels away?
About the Author
Mary Ann Honaker holds a BA in philosophy from West Virginia University, a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Creative Writing MFA from Lesley. She has previously published poetry in 2 Bridges, Harvard’s The Dudley Review, Euphony, Off the Coast, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and many other online and print publications. Her first chapbook, It Will Happen Like This, was released by YesNo Press in 2015. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia.