A February dawn seldom breaks pastel
over a sun-soaked horizon, more often creeps grey
like a duvet over bare limbs, eaves, and dormant beds.
February dawns do not take time to smile languidly
on sentimental wishes plucked from flower petals,
or found in a four-leaf clover or on a bed of hay.
February argues against sensible minds awaiting
a fresh start with bright spring greens,
warm light, and tennis courts long laid fallow,
and simply demands that we listen.
So I listen and walk before the city takes shape,
a chill rain tapping a syncopated beat on my parka,
and I am brought back suddenly
on a winter duck hunt with Don, shotguns
cradled in folded arms against the drizzle,
me hoping I won’t have to put a finger
to a metal trigger and shoot.
Then I hear his voice when a varied thrush trills
across the park, piercing the drum of rain--
his low dozy chirping, his sudden rush of laughter
at something said, an old joke, a memory lost,
then a burst of surprise at some beautiful thing
a sensible person would never notice.
A low trill from a thrush, a gust of wind,
tree limbs waver. I lift my face, awash.
In the rain pellets I hear his halting voice
the days before he slipped away, affirming
February’s argument—love is eternal.