Wise Poets – Cynthia Zarin – April

Now out of this vast silence
the cherry trees scraping their gnarled limbs
on the sky, and the wind hurls down
a flurry of petals, a snowstorm really,
a thousand prints on the wet pavement,
each one a pair of white shutters, opening.
Numinous, the souls of the dead, and now you,
. . . among them—an intake of breath.
How little it seems to me now,
we knew each other.
But still, it is so beautiful, the place where you were—
a table, two chairs, a tree growing up
right through the floor, and outside,
a flicker of swallows in the hedgerows,
the tulips’ purple chevrons a row of arrowheads.
. . . It is wherever you
want to be, although by now you are
beyond wanting. Or at least that’s
what they say of the dead.
The place where you were holds the light
the way the leaves do after dusk
when small animals conduct
their assignations—the shrew, the mouse, the mole
running their études in the mossy shadows.
. . . You were always so
afraid of falling short. If only you hadn’t
done such a good job of dying.
But it is so
beautiful where you were, above
the garden, where it is snowing, this morning in April,
on the bleached white pansies,
the downed cherry blossoms

where you so often sat,
talking and talking.