by Sandy Stark

February Feathers

Today I opened the second drawer
on the left side of the dark brown desk
and took out the cards you gave me
for Valentine’s Day, the same day
we decided to celebrate the cat’s birthday,
calling him our sweetheart, Mr. Max.

Now Max and I are left here looking
for the first sign of a long winter’s end--
a change in the cardinal’s call,
the house finch at the feeder--
the bright red glow of the one,
the rosy pink of the next.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s how to be undone
by the wish to leap backwards in time.
As for stiff-legged Mr. Max,
today I like to think he too dreams
of being younger and lighter- boned,
of the days of wing-like leaps,
and the taste of feathers on the tongue.

-originally published in the 2005
Wisconsin Poets Calendar