Ode to March

Little chicken feet of days
or across the heart of

you don’t write; I miss you.

My grandmother telling me of vinegar
poultices, the sour smell of

lamp oil and croup.  In the yard
the puddles cracked

like borning stars or the chicks in
the hen-coop, that amniotic

slick, sick moon.  I wrote you a
letter and you must have

read it, but only pools of dark,
water in the horse feet,

pools of seepage around the borders
of the house, at night the

clicking of pupae in the bean trees.

I lift a stick and shake to see
what will come out.  I wish I had

kept silent, gleaming and mooning
over you.  You would care to

read me then.  March, which
reminds me always

what pains in birthing, the dead
lamb with the blued-over

eyes, the stillness in any heart.
In yours, my small breath passing through

and rattling, hen-bit by the road-
sides, the first snowdrops like the soul

I keep walking into further
whiteness
.

***

Sheila Black received her MFA from the University of Montana in 1998. She is the author of two poetry collections House of Bone and Love/Iraq (both CW Press). Her work has appeared in Puerto Del Sol, Diode, Copper Nickel, CutBank, Valparaiso Review, Blackbird and other journals. She recently edited, with Jennifer Bartlett and Mike Northen, Beauty is a Verb, an anthology of poetry of disability, which will be published by Cinco Puntos Press in September 2011.  She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

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