A Deliberate Spring

Yes, the lavender has withered

in its vase. The water curdles, stinking


like something sifted through death

twice. I open a window to let out the air.


A flock of birdshot scatters beyond the sill,

strikes nothing, falls


like coins, silver and sparked like a god

filling me with what I had begged for again


and again in my endless hour,

the salt of its neck stinging my tongue.


Forgive me my illusions—I have been

in my bones too long. My death


lingers in the door locks; leaving shadows

in my bed sheets, at the bottom of bathwater,


in the mirrors made in glass when sunlight strikes

just so. To the doubtful,


know that I have tried—count the scissors in their drawers,

note how undulled they are by blood.


The thrashers that gathered in the dogwood have gone

from their branches, startled into a swarm.


I watch the weather unfold into a loose blue

body that fills the window to near overflow.


Stay with me a while longer.

Emilie Yardley-Hodges is an Atlanta-born writer living in Chicago. She holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University, and has a great fondness for birds.