Spring pries into your affairs like a witness
going through the paperwork of silence.
There is a moment when all is worth it
when memory of the ephemeral surpasses
the resolution to outlive it. Spring delves
into the mystery of one long promise
of plague: gnats, rabbits, advertising jingles.
When the spasm of blossom peers
into the world from the bract there we shall be
in ignorance of everything but our allergies.
We’ll devote attention to the subjective
beauty of pollen, when each tendril unfurls
to reveal a lost love that never dies
continuing between the fire and the flies.
Summer cranks up the motivation
to seek out the real estate of shade.
A profit to be made if only
we can learn to think like the sun.
Our skin cringes under the magnifying
glass of ambition. A solstice somewhere.
We hibernate beside the air-conditioning
hoping the heat will not ignite our prayers.
Our brains rattle with cicadas, the sticks
on the ground shrivel like baked annelids.
All is cooked in the world.
One of these days summer won’t stop,
everything will go up in smoke,
not one cool person will have the voice to speak.
One by one the autumn leaves exhale
their last, to use a human metaphor.
Decay’s work is never done in order
to establish the cycle of the seasons
intricately linked to the cycle
of everything else. To improve
would be a fiction. There must be flaws
so the system can renew. Whether
we want it to or not is another matter.
Inevitably we descend into compost,
the lacework of a rotting leaf representing
more than we’d truly care to know.
The subtlety of the colour blind
brings the end of autumn’s reign to mind.
Winter curls its leafless fingers
about a hot mug of chocolate
deferring to the usual words of wisdom
regarding gloves, scarves, rugging up.
If you’re going to go out in it don’t pretend
you’re stronger than the elements.
Around any corner you might catch your death,
just as likely if you sit still indoors
watching it all unfold on the telly.
That icy air filling your suburban lungs
with the opportunity to dig your own grave
out of the back yard’s snowdrift.
Lie down, relax. Winter—do your worst,
drag the soil back over you, warm as toast.
Mark O’Flynn’s latest novel, The last Days of Ava Langdon, was shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Award and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and was winner of the Voss Prize.