Before the Cruelest Month

Hark, the harbingers of spring!

Soft flapping in warming breeze,
the hint of blossoms.

Look there! The harebell flap
of forlorn Toronto Star, blue-bagged
February 10th before the storm –
It’s pale headlines crumpled,
limp with damp Thursday news.

Beneath the salt-rimmed scarf of
plow-torn turf and filthy corn snow
crusted against the plow-chipped curb
peek blushes of Era weekly flyers
flowering paper furl of petals
amidst the melt and ciggy butts.

Unscooped poop of mutts long gone,
mute testament
to master’s unneighbourly neglect
– round rabbit calling turds,
the tumbled mounds of crap exhume
with swaths of cheery red buds
writ large from Loblaws
beneath the ruin of chewed up shrubbery.

Lo! Here a brace of golden Avon sacks
cling pale, unbeautiful
under the brittle caragana;
damp lozenges – discarded Valu-Paks,
cost saving coupons long expired
disintegrate like damp handshakes on chill fingers;
the thaw steams from straw lawns
beside the crack-veined driveway.

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