Ambling back from the bottle dump
I glimpse my neighbor, busy
Under a honeysuckle’s winter thatch.
Summer in February, we agree—
But should we rejoice or be scared?
She’s picking the grey-green leaves
From a sheaf of dried verbena,
Replenishing her tin of bedtime teas:
Verbena leaves that weigh next to nothing.

Over her verandah, the almond tree
Has burst into bloom: white
As the low-hanging moon phosphorescing
This morning when I stepped out
With my armload of towels. Almond
Blossom permeated the air, and there
Was a sound—a drone, a hum
It suddenly struck me was bees
Bees swimming in the almond tree flowers.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 39 Number 2, on page 32
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