Forsythia · Maureen Cosgrove

Who can be certain?
The tight-bud branches
have been cleanly cut
but no one knows for certain
if flowers and leaves
will unfist indoors. Fallen
stars settle in the
yard – deflated grapes
dotting the path. Cooked
in iron pots and
saved. Stellar jam, put
on a small boy's bread. Up
the stairs a mother waits for
tears to thaw. Late winter
pinches. The mountains
hold back echoes. Without
a sound – there is no one
to sing – she tries to shrug
off sticky thoughts of
spring. A forced cloud
of yellow offers no
reprieve. A futile feint,
a bloom of
mimicry. A blurred
row of wind-
tossed willow
lines the street. Leaf-
tip embryos emit pale light.
They droop their
heads, drop tiny chins.
She longs to lift them up
again, to coddle them in
soft-knit swaddling blue.
Close-fisted clouds, full of
hoarded baby teeth, crowd the
window. An eastern
tilted day crayons the sky.
Two robins share a wire. Their
hollow chests are dried-blood red,
masked by molting cloaks.
Heads withdrawn, wrapped
in themselves. As tight
as flesh enfolds to
coax a human life about the
cold, bare glow of bone.

A Golden Shovel, after "October," by Denise Levertov


Maureen Cosgrove is a poet, a collage-artist and a tap dancer from Boston. She has studied poetry with Tom Daley for the past eight years. Her work has appeared in What Rough Beast. Maureen hosts the monthly Poetry Salon of Boston. She is committed to developing her work, as well as supporting the community of poets in her area.