They say there are two seasons in Michigan, winter and construction, but today it feels like spring. I’m getting comfortable again with feeling. Must all the poets fully feel our senses? I was pretty comfortable feeling numb. I was pretty comfortable being dead to the four seasons. It’s surprisingly easy to be sad when it’s always summer.

And then comes the hurricane rain—that muddy welcome-mat intrusion. That smell of the languid lake, and the birds trilling louder as we speak of the dead. They want to join us. Who is the “they” in this poem? Is it the living or the dead? By living do I mean the virgin maples in the forest, or the deceased ceilings made of knotty pine?

I think they both can hear us. I hear the orchids could bloom here under the right conditions, but we keep cutting everything that grows differently right down. Spring is different when there’s no snow before it. When the crocuses have nothing hard to push through. When the bitter winter never comes.

Nicole Tallman is the author of Something Kindred and Poems for the People. Her next book, FERSACE, is forthcoming in November. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @natallman and nicoletallman.com.

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