Russell Rowland: “Apology”


You teased crocuses out of the soil,
beguiled goldfinches back to sing
at our window that it was finally spring—
but my heart strayed ahead to fireworks,
sparklers, and sunscreen’s frankincense.
I am sorry for my faithlessness.

You rubbed sunscreen on my shoulder-blades,
arranged for the lake to be as blue as sky,
donned a bikini unsuited to your modesty—
yet I opted to give myself to autumn:
pumpkins, sheaves of corn, swamp maples
going pyrotechnic. Forgive me please.

You cut jack-o-lanterns, raked brittle leaves,
dressed children up as heroes and royalty
for Halloween, gave me the leftover candy,
carried the harvest home. I snuck around
with a Flexible Flier, wore mittens sleeping,
text-messaged Santa. I fled your weeping.

You learned to ski, installed snow tires,
bought carrots and coal for the man of snow,
decked the halls with boughs of holly,
fa la la la la. I left you—wandered glades,
seeking tentative hints of green. I listened
for the early bird. I was that mean.


Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and Covid Spring, Vol. 2 (Hobblebush Books).His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.

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