—for Alice

How many times has the wind sung
new verses to our familiar choruses,

we’ve seen only the clouds
and misread the signs?

We seek peace in a mirror.  And looking,
when we should have been listening,

missed prophetic thunder
in the blackening of trees.

But new birth accents the possible,
disguised in the freshness of a sudden, spring rain.

The time has come
to throw out spoiled milk.

There are evergreens already,
birds singing low in the brush.

Yet how many nights
have we slept on old, cotton sheets,

clinging to comfortable tintypes,
content with the smaller of joys?

First published in Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal