White petals suddenly strewing the sidewalk
smell yeasty, salty, vaguely edible.

They have appeared from nowhere all at once.
Not only because of the mild weather,

this past winter felt to me like fall.
Month after month I couldn’t quite remember

whether the semester was fall or spring.
So this season, softly swallowed up

into not spring but summer,
offers more of the same confusion.

One thing is clear: your long fading,
so slow to live for both of us, is over.

That endless-seeming zone is now as distant
as if I ventured down a crooked staircase

into a rancid restaurant in a dim cellar
and quickly up and out again—there was nothing for me there.

Finding my way home through unfamiliar streets,
I heard a bird hidden in new foliage.

Clouds floated overhead.
The sidewalk was spotted with white petals.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 Number 3, on page 29
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