what were the signs  when should you have thought something   that it might happen  what was missed   where were you looking  how long had it been leading up   a shadow   change in the air   intake of breath  hawk shifting   the river looks up says I only see what I see  I show you everything I can  there plain and clear  the bare trees leaning across   yawning limbs  gnawed by weather  ragged ice-broke branches leaking sap   the absence of clouds  a grey feather drifting on drafts 

a mix of mud and dirt-ice beside the bank  old boot tracks soften growing smooth   reckless   as the ground gives up its cold   when will the worms feel it is time  how will their churning change   what is in the works   the upthaw  February sun holding each green-necked gander along the path in its hand equinox in sight   everything lengthening  opening of wings  and whistles lacework of early leaf buds mirrored in the river  see the water breathe away from reeds  see the quiet current absorb city sirens   what should a person   where to look   how   drum of helicopter  bus brakes sighing   someone  speeding    listen    acceleration  

she was still smiling at that age    still an easiness there   must we always look back  this place of warning  what was missed   a lull of caring  a not attending   what was needed to wish to have seen   known  even now the lateness of the hour   the pastness of what was closing  the ever not moving into being attend to what  pay  pay  pay  before or after 

you will never know what seed fell from your boot   what did you carry   how will you know  have known  been knowing  tenses fail  not enough to say it was then  and until now    standing  planted  what stance   quick on furred feet  is that ready or not  it already was  is  the thing missed  is the coming in  is the what’s above  what’s below  all that you didn’t know   but if you could have  or did   or would then what  because of how it’s little and little and long put together   traps   unannounced  or  in words   unfamiliar 

how do you catch on to the change   before its wake of disaster   when there’s time  still time   the red-winged blackbird just keeps on calling Okalee! My reed It’s mine It’s  mine  Okalee! My reed It’s mine It’s  mine   what o what does the soft brown rabbit know  carried high up in a clutch of claw?






Mary Buchinger, author of three poetry books, einfühlung/in feeling (forthcoming), Aerialist (2015), and Roomful of Sparrows (2008), is President of the New England Poetry Club (founded by Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, Conrad Aiken) and Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston; her work has appeared in AGNI, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Salamander, and elsewhere.