Lisa Rhoades

To Be Clear

To be clear, it is less
that you thought it wouldn’t happen—
you know the world has rhythms
and plans you can’t see
or seeing can’t understand,
like the time you tore out
that gangly thick-stalked plant beside the stairs
which wasn’t what you thought
(a weed), but Asters,
and so denied yourself and the pollinators
a little sweetness before the cold,
only to have them come back the next fall,
your actions undone
and you happy for that in the end;

or that you don’t have your own
ways of accounting for time, though
truthfully, they mostly center on your body,
the balance of accretions: what is lost,
what is gained, those muscles twinging
and all that grey;

after all, you’ve missed it up til now
so it’s not that you thought it wouldn’t happen,
so much as felt
it would happen without you,
like so much does,
while you’re washing dishes
eyes lowered to the spot that needs extra soap,
not looking up, not noticing
the common yellowthroats and ovenbirds
migrating through your yard—
and when it rains tomorrow you’ll remember
they move before a storm front,
fantastic creatures, skulking in the leaves,
in the tight lace of branches
you also meant to clear.