Cold Spell

The April sun is silver, fat white snowflakes
gliding slow as drowning flowers down that light.
Windless, the cherry tree’s explosion of blossom
holds the landscape staunched, stunned, stretched
as held breath, a quietening, a muffled promising,

The tree is old, huge. On one high branch
a hawk sits veiled in pale bloom, the whole scene
more like moonlight or a dream than any
mid-morning solidity, the pink-emblazoned cherry
calling down slow flakes and the raptor
frozen into grace.

Then broad wings lift, unfolding annunciation
above the sudden cardinal on white ground. Then
a spasm of bloody feathers and the world
shuddering into life.