Is That Who

spring undoes the rite of sleep,
earth throws off ice,
heaves cold sheets to the floor,
reveals itself unkempt,
bare forsythia’s tangled hair,
scabs of matted leaves
needing a rake’s scrape,
saturated soil,
pool-pocked landscape—
from here to the gangling phone pole
mirror pools hope for cloudless blue,
thermometer’s short red gash,
bare filament limbs of birch and ash
reach beyond the last of summer leaves
as if, from crown to roots, last fall they’d thought
that to let those last go down in ignominy
they’d be mocked by winter months
as having acquiesced to die under soles
of January or December’s boots

an uncovering not unlike our own
when we wake unkempt from a night off somewhere
past imagining, as we will someday permanently be,
to regain the day with a facile toss of covers
as if our nightly lapsed consciousness
was not heaped with mystery

So, couched in poetry
we comb heads
brush mouths and,
immersed in what we do,
splash water on our face
and stare, thinking

is that who

by Jim Culleny

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