Early in May

Trillium flower just opening. Photo: Picture This

There’s something about trillium. They are a near obsession with me and I return to them over and over in my writing. It may just be the physical and emotional constraints of winter being lifted from the shoulders. But I think it might be something more, too. Just what that might be may take a few more poems to flesh out.

Early in May

First warm, sunny day of May, a bumblebee hovers over
blooming rhododendron. Bluets and clover dot the yard,
and dogwood flowers shine white against the pine trees.

I search the riverbanks for trillium, as I’ve done each year
since I was a teenager and came to discover them here
while playing hooky from school with my first girlfriend.

Today, early blooms pop out along the beaver slide down
to Sugar Island reservoir– tiny as a periwinkle, but white
as moonlight. The full-furled flowers are yet to come.

The sweetest beauty is in the birth of something new, 
the promise of what could be, rather than in fulfillment,
which is tempered by knowing, regret, salted with grief.

Trillium time is fleeting, a week or two and then no more,
the way a first romance fires the blood so fiercely it burns
itself to ashes before one can learn how to take good care.

But no matter, we learn better each year as spring returns  
to rekindle even so timeworn a heart as mine, making light
my steps as I clammer up the bluff again to our back door.

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