Voyeur

Voyeur   —by Jinny Batterson

February—not just endless, but endlessly fickle.
One day teasing with early warmth.
Later freezing with near-zero chill.
As a departing insult, dumping three storms’ worth
Of ice, sleet, snow, freezing rain onto roads,
Trees, and power lines grown brittle with the cold.
Finally exiting, unlamented.

March blows somewhat warmer, yo-yoing toward spring.
Along parkways, Bradford pears pop open their pearly baubles.
Magnolias simper in front yards, flashing creamy white flesh.
Everywhere, daffodils lift their jaundiced cups to Saint Paddie.
On medians, apricots, plums, early cherries flounce their inverted tutus.

Abandoning these floozies’ displays, I stalk quieter innocence.
One morning, I spy four deer browsing in a nearby woods.
Nuzzling beneath fallen leaves, intent on tender twigs and shoots,
They pay me no mind.  After a while, they wander off.

Adolescent pines, some bruised and bent, line the wood’s edges.
Hollies stand stolid here and there, berries mostly gone.
In the understory, tucked back among oaks, maples, poplars,
Beeches cling to leaves bleached pale, worn thin by winter’s abrasions.

If I am quiet as the deer, if I am vigilant, always watching, watching,
I may get a glimpse, before later greenery masks their deshabille,
Of the young beeches, blushing, shedding their paper skirts.

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