What with foresight and dancing, gypsies would seem to pass easily between worlds. The hummingbird too— only a moth with a beak— Have I ever heard it hum? Yet it's everywhere welcome, coaxed by red flowers, even sugar water, for we are devious, in our desires. And the dead, we embody them for our own purposes. I can't talk to a shadow, to an abstraction. A sun worshiper, my brother, always raising his face to it. One touch and the body roar quieted. Now, though I walk the length of the park, he is not there. He is nowhere under the sun. I want the dead but I am with the living. The tulips raise up their hands. The lunch crowd swallows me.
Return to Winter
That day the starlings didn't eat. That day was a sudden return to winter. In the fields, snow on a base of ice. The birds couldn't bear to set down except on the clear face of the road they remembered. My husband leaned on the horn the way you lean on a railing until they lifted before the unstoppable metal. I pushed into the floorboard as if I were doing the driving, as if I could halt the laws of physics, while somewhere, my brother's chest rose and sunk and rose. So much you take for granted, like going to sleep in spring that you will wake in spring. That the blossoms were right to push out, there was no contradiction. But when we hit the slick and slammed hard against our own forward motion, the roadbank spun and the orchard of stunted trees that had just begun to soften.