Friday, July 14, 2023

Poem: "Contrast" by Alison Stone

Alison Stone

The birds are at it again,
all flutter and song. Housebound,
Merlin hisses behind glass,
his taut haunches electric with thwarted desire.
Isn’t that the season’s unspoken subtext?
Spring flaunting sex and renewal, but what about
the lonely, the single, the sick,
made more out of sorts by being out of synch.
The man whose wife collapsed in April
feels in the balmy air the touch of his still-warm grief.
Life’s not fair is one of the first lessons
we learn in toddlerhood, as though hearing
this stated by a calm parent would antidote
justified rage. In the tale where the gods
offer to restore her dead baby if the mother brings
a mustard seed from a house untouched by sorrow,
the lesson is that no one is spared. True enough.
But we’re afflicted far from equally, and joy’s
a fickle guest, despite the weather’s demand
for celebration. Better if the world provided rain
for the abandoned lover or too-long unemployed,
a chill for the mother, her bone marrow
not a match, who stumbles
from the drab hospital into the slap of daffodils.

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