Dealing with Early Spring

1 August 2012

           Hamburg, 2012

 
A beggar cups his hands and pleads for change
while the sun gilds his palms and fingers
like a bowl possessed by Charlemagne,
standing now in a museum’s vitrine. This gold
is superfluous to him but I check my wallet
and offer a medley of coins.

All the ice has melted; the locks
in the Elbe are overwhelmed
and I wonder what to do
with so much water that can’t
be channeled or held.

In the park the arms of beeches are empty⎯
candelabra lacking candles⎯and glowing
as though being smelted anew. A clear
plastic ball hovers a moment before
it falls, while the boy who launched it,
anticipating, already raises his arms.
I keep my hands tight in my pockets
like a boat clinging to its anchor.

While reading in a café
I lift my eyes from the book;
behind the polished window
the dawn-yellow of buttercups
is almost an affront.
Are they really wholly
oblivious to history?

On the way home, crossing over the bridge,
I decide to give up and toss the page:
it briefly ignites⎯incandescent⎯
before the letters run,
sink into the stream.

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