August is Why

by David Filer
     There’s a certain Slant of light,
     Winter Afternoons
               Emily Dickinson, Poem #258

Don’t take too much from
a still Spring evening.
There have been others.

Spring is like that:
at first it takes one’s
breath away, the eyes

see nothing but love’s
object.  Not love even,
that comes much later.

We’re talking about
desire, and desire
as it comes to all

is like a still Spring
evening, the held warmth
of it, the silence

just this side of rage.
We don’t want to talk
about rage in the same

breath as Spring, it goes
against tradition,
against the silence

that comes before tears.
Talk instead about
the drifting thistle

seed, one of many.
Talk instead about
the cedar waxwing,

in the backyard ash
tree.  Something’s going
on, there’s even been

some rain, and August
has crept in on us,
insects fill the air,

behind them, pastel clouds
picking up the last
sunlight of the day

August already,
in its hot splendor
already, when we

were talking about
Spring, talking about
desire, as if it were

love, or something as
small as the cedar
waxwing in the ash,

and silent, like rage,
and August is why
there will be Winter,

just visible now
in the curling brown
edges of the leaves,

in the slant of light
through the pastel clouds.
Don’t take too much from

a still Spring evening,
and don’t talk about
desire, or love, or

that one thistle seed
drifting across . . . and
don’t talk about rage.