Rhina P. Espaillat


When I clear out the garden beds
and pull at blackened sticks,
there they are: new pale threads
just coming through, live wicks

ready for April fire
fueled by wakened ground,
a hum, through greenest wire,
of music without sound.

The children work behind me,
gather and broom and bag:
When I shift my place, they find me
with only the briefest lag,

with only this task, this morning–
crushed leaves, old sticks, fresh grass–
and not a cloud of warning
of how such mornings pass.

Rhina P. Espaillat, Rehearsing Absence, University of
Evansville Press, 2001.