Reading Spring


My wife trips to avoid a fuzzy bear.

Red and black bands forecast

weather, and country music

on her phone. It’s my sister

noting the flare of grass

outside her house, likely the product

of over-fertilization. Everyone wants more

light and longer shadows, even

if it means ignoring mud.

Galaxies of starlings rush spring

and strip feeders to the bone.

Our retriever gummed a robin’s wing

this morning. Across the road,

my neighbor’s kids ride their first

two-wheelers, arms shaking

like jello, eyes believing

in control. They wobble along

the driveway, veer into the gravel

road and trace a lazy circle.

A few banties scratch dance

in the yard for grit, and mail

brings next month’s bills

and a flier advertising

pet diapers for indoor hens.

Now the snow’s gone

two deer carcasses embrace

just off the road, scraped

together by the plow, bones

like twisted sheet music.

Later, we will drag them

back into the woods

where my neighbor believes

they belong.

John Cullen‘s work has appeared recently in American Journal of Poetry and North Dakota Quarterly.