By Lawrence Wray
The first of the year begins with countless
anomalies, the nearest, possibly most delicate—
such as the fragrance of lemon blossoms—
is the way we address each other now,
hinting. On a bench beneath a window,
the lemons on a bent potted tree, five small
glossy bulbs, will lose their dark green
and take on the brilliance of goldfinches,
which balance or pause on the coneflowers
sprawling beside the front walk in summer.
I was imagining how to continue, looking out
on the abandoned street. The bare trees
are faintly clad in street lamp amber.
Fires were lit in desert orchards at this hour
when a freeze was expected to sweep in.
Do you have a word for me, for the light
which is colorless and rises off a crust of snow
or the salted sidewalk, where, over the last
many days, a woman has passed whose face,
entirely wrapped in a scarf, is shaped
like yours? Is it frail, used, as momentary
as wood smoke? I began to speak to you,
to take you up as you had already taken me,
when the scent of lemons came on.
Lawrence Wray’s work can be found in the anthology Verse Envisioned and in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Presence, Poetry Salzburg Review, Indiana Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Dark Horse, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. His collection, The Night People Imagine, has twice been a finalist for the Antivenom Prize at Elixir Press. New work can be found in Coal Hill Review and Relief.