pursed white buds protruding from polyps
at the clenched ends of near-bare branches

like sweet nothings making unlikely exits
from the mouths of prudish spinsters

women disenchanted by a world's reckless spinning
deigning to allow the hope and peace they knew when young

shedding winter skin, though bloodless and long-rote
and the shallow, sallow slanting of the insubstantial sunlight

leave a hollow haunting pressure decaying in my chest
recognizing this as springtime and the pain of birth it brings