To March by Ralph Culver

To March

Cutting carrots for soup, I’m distracted by the trees outside the window, their branches
making sweeping gestures through pale air half an hour before sundown,

officious yet somehow disinterested, the somber limbs directing, urging us to move
more quickly past the scene of some disaster or other and go about our business,

and I think, That’s March, isn’t it? They stand, the trees, above cracked plates of snow
that look like a pile of slate shingles just tumbled off a truck

and spilled around the trunks in shards. But that’s March, too, the declining sunlight
suddenly flaring up across a glaze of ice that appears without warning

at a bend in the road, this unavoidable fact about yourself and the moment, and
you realize, as you turn the steering wheel smoothly into the skid, that

you are at ease with the prospect of any possibility. Everything in the bed
shifts as you hit dry pavement and then goes cascading, the whole load thunders overboard,

but you’ve stopped; stopped. Somehow, you’re on all four tires. And when you climb
out of the cab, there is the wind, that storied, oft-venerated wind

moaning and clawing at your throat, a lover who wants you or wants you dead. Maybe both.
Probably both, I think, looking across the snow crust

gathering murk as dusk settles in, winter each day just a bit more distant, each day itself
just a bit longer and brighter than the last,

and return to the comfortable heft of the knife, the kitchen sweetened by steaming broth
and promise, another seeming catastrophe survived.

by Ralph Culver, first published in Common Ground Review.

Editor’s Note: Second person point of view gives this poem an interesting perspective. Is the reader a part of the conversation? Possibly. The season marches on, regardless of perspective.


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