awaiting a carriage, any

it’s the numerous letters the magnolias make
as they open—one, then another, and then
a letter i don’t quite know yet—that makes any wounded
heart seem more wounded and, despite its chances,
not worth the time. i thought i’d be used to it
by now. i stood in the greening field, i famously
like to recount, and waved my arms
so i could, at last, be claimed, be carried away.
but nothing good descended. no avian form,
no cloud, just a swarm of blue things:
flung twilight, withdrawal, an opal blame.

sure, i’ve been lonely before, i always say, but not
like this. you have to survive the bad season
to make it to the season of reversals, the magnolias
leading the fray. though that’s not
what we call it, at least not where i’m from
where there is a single, impenetrable era
that begins just as soon as it ends.

Copyright © 2022 by Bernard Ferguson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 12, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.