by Brenda Butka

Leafing out, the trees blur in green mist,
celandine poppies bright fingerprints
at their feet. The persistent creek has hollowed dips,
roundels, arches into the limestone floor.
Waterleaf, twinleaf, spring beauties wander beside
blueeyed Mary, larkspur.
The trout lilies are mostly gone,
Jacobs-ladder has not yet arrived,
seersucker sedge returning, green fists
knocking along the slopes.

The pickup truck is stuck,
mud to the hubs,
at the bottom of the hill, and the guys
turn up late, raucous,
bat away the big dog, shuck
their dirty boots at the door, rattle the refrigerator for a beer.
No one wants to leave this talk
about tractors, drag chains, Buddha in Texas,
exactly when that shotgun was fired into the air,
the first hummingbird of the year, that time
the symphony conductor, a glorious specimen himself,
called you a bon vivant, how to identify
wakerobins, their three purple hands
folded, as in prayer–
not in belief, not in supplication–
simply a statement of
how things are.

Brenda Butka practices pulmonary medicine and poetry in Nashville, Tennessee, where she and her husband share a small organic farm with a couple of farmers and their cows, goats, chickens, a resident great blue heron and whoever happens to drop in.

Image credit: Michael Hodge on Flickr


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