Poem 312 ± April 11, 2016

Pauletta Hansel
For Joe

It’s not about what’s new and green,
the underbelly of leaves,
each with its own signature of touch—
this one rough as winter’s skin,
this one the rubber of scar.

It’s not the dandelions, impossibly
yellow as a child’s drawing
of a hundred suns, nor the bird
that darts now from the bushes,
the low hum of wings against
his small missile of body.

Still, there is something of spring
that holds a small piece of your death,
breaking as easily in my hand as bark
from a fallen limb.

Maybe it’s about what does not come
back alive. The rose bush brittle brown,
with thorns that snap like small bones,

the storm-torn ground beneath the pear still red
and open as a wound that refuses to heal.

It could be the white-winged moth
flitting alone from leaf to loosening bud.

The one persistent cardinal
calling for a mate.

Soon there’ll be a cacophony of color,
voices, everywhere life
creating more. But now

it’s April that shows us
what’s survived
and what has not,

one against the other.


Pauletta HanselPauletta Hansel’s poems and prose have been featured in journals including Kudzu, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage and Still: The Journal, and on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry. She is author of five poetry collections, most recently Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015.) Pauletta is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Recently named Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate, Pauletta leads writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond.

The poem appeared in Tangle and Still: The Journal.