Molt

A familiar type but unfamiliar,
the leaves dance
nameless in light and wind
through most of a coffee.
They dance when word,
a name from elsewhere,
slips from forgetfulness
and whispers
in a voice of light and wind,
"Ash." An ash.
The bark by itself
should have told,
quite apart from the leaves.
This is the way of days here,
so much almost known
but unknown, fresh
but not entirely new.
Like a creature emerging,
it splits a chrysalid skin,
fluttering to dry wings
of a common shape
but patterned like glass
from the uncanny valley.
Like the lie of one's face
flipped in a mirror,
like a variation for strings
played with light and wind,
or a tongue that can taste
only exotic nectar,
spring opens, moth-like
though a butterfly,
its colors vividly homely,
rising, casually remarked.
From seams where foundations
and sidewalks meet,
the ghosts of years past
rise too, hardly visible
though dressed in rainbows.
They rise, unnoticed
except by birds
here called "benteveo,"
but elsewhere "kiskadee."
Benteveo—"I see you well."
Spring opens
and masks are coming off
even here that has been
relatively careful.
Which of us
has not wearied of care?
Impatient faces lift
into light and wind,
a primordial need
to see each other well,
to see through ghosts
of what the plague days
have made us.
Skin splits at its seam
and something fresh emerges
to dance among leaves.
A stranger watches;
foundations whisper.
He sips coffee, his thin hope
that an act so homely,
only casually remarked,
will bridge the valley
between one cup
and the next.
Perhaps, he thinks,
it will make him familiar,
or make him, at least,
less strange in the glass,
tossing, another ghost
restless in his chrysalis.