AT THE ARBORETUM
Hope is the thing
In a glass-encased room I thought of you,
far away, in the city you’ve flown to.
All winter I’d prayed hard for a miracle.
Now rain and ice pelted the windows,
drenched the gardens I’d wanted
to stroll. Yellow daffodils tilted,
tulips and crocus collapsed, leaves
of magnolias hung heavy with slush.
Out of purple rhododendron the first
goldfinch appeared, from forsythia, another
and another, at least a dozen, swooping
and gliding from thistle seed feeder
to tree to bush. A flock of goldfinches—
tarnished, soft, and brilliant, flying fragments
of gold, as if the sun had shattered.
Leaves of gold floated past panes of glass,
each bird without cares except to feed and fly.
All around me I heard sleet rat-a-tat-tatting,
and still the birds continued their airshow.
They did not suffer from ice, but flew
in perfect formation, a miniature
roller coaster, gliding in freefall,
looping and soaring, cradled by air.
Then the rain stopped pounding, and
in that airless silence no flutter of wings, no
twitter of birdsong. I only saw those small
trapeze artists on wings, flying cordless,
without cables or net, oblivious to danger,
and I thought of you, miles away,
trembling in the cold, cold rain.
© by Diane Lockward