Today in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Anthony Madrid. 

Cold Spring

Cold spring. Wind from the lake.
Flowering pear full of tiny white blossoms.
Impossible to make them admit it.

Cold spring and a starling’s neck.
Redbud puts out a violet petal.
What settles disputes revives them.

Cold spring. Sparrows on the hop.
Cockspur hawthorn, good place for a nest.
Only divest, no need to announce it.

Cold spring. Scolding jay.
Raccoon, working class, deaf to the noise.
Boys’ll insist on a contract.

Cold spring. Gutters backed up.
A gull’s cry like a screen door in motion.
Remaindered husband, sold on the cheap.

Cold spring. Rats in a hole.
Green ash still clustered in last year’s pods.
The body antenna picks up on it.

Cold spring. White ash full of hockey sticks.
Robin comes back and sits a blue egg.
It’s the beggar offers the handout.

Cold spring and a starling’s whirr.
Juvenile red oak, leaves flat and green.
Take that, Matisse with a scissor.

Cold spring. Sclerotic maple.
Honey locust, hollow; branches, bare.
Rare is regret. More usual, bitterness.

Cold spring and a redwing blackbird.
Norway maple in a litter of seed keys.
Inconvenient, the needs of the soul.

Cold spring. Fresh paint on a fence.
Siberian elm in its first-year’s growth.
Both are degenerate: felon and cop.

Cold spring. Kids in the crosswalk.
Towering catalpa: get under, look up.
It’s not enough, knowing the consequence.

Cold spring. Deer in the park.
Empty tables at the sidewalk café.
Who can say where the clockwatching stops.

Cold spring. Campus swamp oak.
Deep furrowed bark, squirrel lashing its tail.
A nail’s head, sharp as its point.

Cold spring and a Texas buckeye.
Night rabbit on reconnaissance. Crouching cat.
Take that, habitual happiness.

Cold spring. Cardinal calling.
Catalpas in flower and a white bouquet.
Usual for love to wane in the time
It takes to throw back a sheet.

Cold spring. Linden in flower.
Cyclopian leaves; cat on its back.
The fact and the truth in a standoff.


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