once the magnolia has blossomed


     Once the magnolia blossoms,
the descending shadow of the petals
stains the street

     with the brown footprint leaving,
where it has stepped in itself,

     a track
walked in its own being flesh
gone as to excrement —

     spring, in tomorrow’s rain, comes
a hose-down of the scene as
of an annual

the fallen   petal
     of a sparrow

no one had kept an eye on except
the peregrine
     from the Methodist church tower.

     A hose-down    as hope  
this has to do with something

about the plant cycle
     of sublime season done          not sacrifice

to some stoned possession   for blood
spent on the street,

     and so much lost    you’d think
beauty had left a lesson
     more   than more is there          to ask for.

“once the magnolia has blossomed” from Asked What Has Changed © 2021 by Ed Roberson. Published by Wesleyan University Press. Used by permission.