Sunday, March 22, 2009

Free Verse in Tercets: The Search for Crocuses

The Search for Crocuses

The car shakes awake each morning as we rise,
Our bodies still entangled and huddling,
A shivering reminder that we are all still able to warm.

When I see the spirited catch in your eye,
I know that there comes a time in each winter
That begs for melting fingers and hearts.

I drive, a slave to the salt on my face and on the road.
Even leather gloves don't seem to cut the cold
From reaching my bones anymore.

I begin my search for crocuses.
For tiny petaled wings, for minuscule stems
Reaching out and up towards the sun.

These miniature flowers are the only
Breaths able to beat through winter's sheen,
And I must know their secret.

These harbingers of spring sprout
First, lightly. Then, bloomed.
Small upturned faces to drink in sweet air, sweet rays.

Tanning their busts (not in the way that old ladies
Tan their hide but the way in which a child catches
Whisps of sun in her hair from playing among crocuses.)

I search for clues,
For comfortable flower faces.
For days without sleeves.

Black cats jump out from beneath the folds of night's blanket
and blanch at my car wheels, turning, searching.
They seem to follow me to red wine bottles.

Red wine, red lips.
Wine-stained lips speak of unkempt promises,
Of goals, of spring.

Of a search for the crocus flowers in my youth,
Of a search that reminds me that
All winters must finally end.

Everything closes quietly at night,
Even crocus buds,
But I must press on to end my winter.

Justine Bienkowski

Rondeau: (Untitled)


During Winter
my body wastes into a scab. My fingerprints fracture.
I mourn my skin: each crease a puckered-lip red—
the red of moist moments—but my moment is bloodshed.
Dry air prevails, inciting crocodile skin and terror,

while flesh wastes in crooked sheaves, rots, shivers
into puckered scowls. Any prior luster
has now been lost, I remain pale, as if bled.
Where is the Spring?

My hands wilt at the wrists. My eyes scream with horror
at rosy lids and dry calloused rumps. Each hour
Passes with the lathering of unhelpful creams. Unshed
leather skin, cease and desist! Drop from my bones, spread
from my limbs! A crispy exoskeleton. Not young, but elder:
Where is the Spring?

Justine Bienkowski