A March sky pinned with stars—
purple, almost, and a blue mist in the wheat stubble.
Under the laburnum, we waited—
the chains of leaf, its cascades of gold flower
gone, and the whole tree drooping
like an open hand, loose at the wrist.
And in the far field—what?
The dun mare wickering, shifting
her weight; the trough half-frosted
and glittering. This might be
the last year, we thought, before the land
was sold; the nests with their four-pointed eggs
in the scrape, the square plot peaked,
all those mothers, and who knows what else
before the year was out?
What losses? Until, near the tracks, a spark—
a dark firework lit in a flickering note
and us hushed to hear it, to follow the jet
of its firing, its leap up
and then the tumbling
fall: black sparks, the shower
of embers gashed and the Catherine wheel
flourish as the sound was dropped,
caught, then dashed to earth.
And what of it?
All beyond night’s blind—
hardly even a shadow, but the air
just then, picked up, shaken to static—
cheee-o-wit of something like life whipping upward
and the dying nerve shot along the bright rod of the spine.