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It’s April and the robins have returned and shit
streaks long and white as pulled, uncolored taffy.
They christen budding lawns, walkways, and streets
clear now for the ice cream man who anticipates
heat with his gauzed wrists and cow-bell.
Kids on the block escape their winter nests and find
a first taste of chance before they watch
their sweet, fat clouds tumble after a few licks and grins
to the appreciative, marching ants.
And the block’s crazy lady,
boarded up all winter with her bright, uncaged birds
singing, cawing, screaming like a Pride Parade
in rooms undusted and stacked with newspapers
and letters from three wars ago, comes out
in her straw hat, 80s shades, Birkenstocks,
and loose, cream-colored socks—the season’s first linens.
She dances clean through the stains and spills, and stares
to the fields of lilac and viburnum now cleaning the air, at last—
her long silk scarf trailing her like a wedding veil, waving us goodbye.
Copyright 2017 Billy Clem