last poem in may :: judith harris

After the late spring storm,
the downed roses lower their faces,
grazing in the wild grass…

Nervous mourning doves circle
the veranda, chitterling birdsongs,
blowing out their white puffs of seed
like ashes from a low fire.

The loam turns black and gold,
and black again. Stones hobble in place.
The bushes gleam vigorously, intact,
like menaced buildings still standing.

For each of us, there is a place we dare not enter
lest we trust the other has been there, too—
the star-shaped flowers splay backwards,
aiming their hoary cacti at the sun.

This is why the dead never come back:
because they want us to believe they are this happy.