Winter, Like a Burden Lifted

Winter, like a burden lifted:
One morning I awoke to sunlight,
And stepping outside,
Found that I could shed my coat
Like an ill-fitting skin.

From a mire of leaf mold spring
Verdant and uncertain shoots,
Their shafts peeking shyly past
The detritus of winter.
The cat sniffs at them, curiously,
Before sampling a taste.

I sweep the dirt from my stoop,
Pull the limescale-stained tarp
From the garden bench,
Fill the birdfeeder with suet.
The children next door have pulled
From the rubble of their garage
Their scooters,
The wheels rumbling and clacking
Along the joints of the sidewalk.

Winter, like a burden lifted.
The old man next door sits on his porch,
Binoculars in hand,
Waiting for the first violet flash
Of a swallow’s wing.