April Fools

April Fools    —by Jinny Batterson

(written on a glorious April Fool’s Day, 2014, after a long and difficult winter season.)

Winter this year was long and dreary, with snow, ice, cold rain—
It seemed spring would never come.
Yet here it is, finally. As dawn comes up
And April announces herself with sun
And more than a little warmth,
The birds insist loudly, in trills, chirps, tapping:

“Enough already of this obsession with death and decay.
What’s important now are nests and plumage and song.
You humans are impaired, but you can still do your bit:
Get a new rug, clean the kitchen, paint a wall in vibrant colors.
Get out your loudest stripes, polka dots, plaids, tie-dyes
And put them on. Find that skirt or pair of shorts that’s
A little too tight from several months of therapeutic chocolates,
And wear it anyway.  Skip a little; hum to yourself; giggle–
Even sing or laugh out loud at nothing at all.
Play ribald yet kind jokes on each other.  Step out!”

There’s just enough cloud to turn the sunrise pink and purple,
Hues that the redbuds and peach trees echo.
The air has a yeasty smell from a bakery upwind.

The birds are right, you know—
In this burgeoning season, trying to remain solemn
Is the biggest foolishness of all.  

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