Dear heart, it’s time. I’ve felt it for weeks,
and just this morning the barn swallows
returned to build their nest in the eaves,
flew 600 miles in a single day to find me
wading the reeds in Tadpole Pond.
Their split tails cut the air, orange throats
sucking up insects spring intended
for my garden. This is how we line
the nest; feather, horse hair, cotton.
This is how we catch with our mouths
in midair. This is how we return time
after time, voices cracking winter's
scab, voices humming, pitched
like warmed paraffin. I’m not afraid
to say it. I never wanted this great
distance, all those miles ringing out.
Darling, my desire sings from mudslide,
bees frozen in the comb, magnolia lifting
her stingy pink fingers to heaven. I am
the clubfoot colt, the crooked lamb,
the cleft and bloody whelp, the spoon-
full of mice stillborn in the kitchen drawer.
I am the buck-toothed girl who waits
at the fence, watching for spring’s